Well, thanks for publishing about me. It is high time people get to know about me, how important a person I am – they should learn to be scared of me, eventually. They better be scared of me otherwise I will start rattling, and drop names – authors and titles alike, just to let you know how literate I am, and how unlettered you are.

 

I belong to the elite, and I have no guilt of being called an ‘elitist’ – although I openly claim my allegiance to Gandhi, this is one area of disagreement I still have with Gandhi and his egalitarian ways (If I were to meet him personally, I would have persuaded him to come off with his mask, like I have done, as he was constantly supplied by a very rich patronage to keep him in poverty!). Anyways, the Ceasework(s) programme just can’t help being inspired by Gandhi, although I have to enforce my own interpretation to his ideologies for the programme to become commercially successful and viable. I just use his name, as he’s more famous than I am (winks). At the same time one must remember that corporations like Ford have neither the time nor the discerning skills to understand Gandhi’s voluminous writings, so I make it easy for them to understand when I write our grant proposals to them. 

 

I will let you in on a little secret of mine – I masquerade as a powerful man. This is an image I have built up over the years, after many stressful sessions of schmoozing. I like people perceiving me as such; it helps me enormously in my business (I will come to that later). This power of mine is solely based on information (as opposed to knowledge, mind you!). It helps me to drop names and scare people. Unlike Nietzsche and Foucault who had once talked about power deriving from knowledge, I have my own ingenious philosophy, which is more up to date with late modernity – times that all of us now belong to, where information is the key (you do not need to know much these days to win quiz contests, just read those magazines written in journalistic haste, and bang! you’re there!).  This necessity of building a powerful façade comes from my childhood insecurities.

 

Back in my college days I had to bear with huge amount of embarrassment being an ignorant bloke as I was. But, thankfully back then I didn’t have to work in a bookstore wearing red, blue and yellow coloured clothes, selling books to equally ignorant college blokes who didn’t know anything about books, like me. Being ignorant at the same time as being earnest, I only used to play around five-star restaurants and swimming pools, and went window shopping near the Oberoi Grand Arcade. It was here that I met Mr. Ghosh, owner of the bookstore at Oberoi Grand Arcade. Through him I learned about various authors, and slowly I started picking up titles he referred me to. Not that I read all of them, or finished reading most, it was just a means to a bigger end. It got me interested in the publishing business, and helped me pick up the skills to position myself and pitch my ‘company’ as a reputable institution/ publishing house in the market. I realised how important it was to be known as a powerful man, to have that kind of an aura – this, in order to usurp all the rights of talented but desperate artists in the local market. I promised them goodies that included exposure to the glocal market and of international distribution of their published works (again, I dropped names relentlessly to make an impression, it’s all about marketing you see!)  – to this, they readily agreed, but not without some disgruntlement, for they had to give up all their rights for publication. This meant, they could not go to any other (bigger) publishing house, which would have been commercially more viable compared to what we were offering – we were paying them peanuts (chuckles). So I paved the way for making substantial profit only through overpricing. The surplus was mine, all mine. I ironed out the residual regrets they might have had in renouncing  their rights by simply throwing my weight around. I made them believe that their work was not so great to be appreciated by the masses, esoteric as they were, and that the bigger publishing houses wouldn’t even consider publishing them. Everyone soon toed the line. Before I realised, I had all the major artists in my pocket, and having been a lighting boy and fond of theatres (back when I was 16), I enjoyed the proximity this business now heralded to have my own puppet show, with all these major but desperate artists around (loud chuckle).

 

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