It’s been a long while since I got anyone’s autograph!
When I was growing up, I had a pink notebook I carried everywhere and in it were signatures of all the “famous” people in and around Kathmandu. Singers, actors, football players, politicians, literary figures—I loved going up to these “celebrities” and asking for autograph. I would then take it to school the next day and show it off to my friends…. Yesterday, I met so and so.
But as I grew older, the autograph collection ceased to expand from the last popular figure who signed for me. I didn’t fancy going up to a “famous” person anymore. I wasn’t interested in seeking signatures of somebody I didn’t really care about or even care to know about.
I was meeting interesting people. They didn’t have to write, “Best Wishes… From so-n-so).” Their smiles, expressions and conversations had a lasting effect than the notebook with unreadable jottings. Life had taught me that.
But this past Monday, I crowded along with other “fans” and hoped to chance on a scribbled signature. I was already feeling cheesy about it but I let all my prejudices aside. It’s not everyday you meet one of the influential writers of the 21st century…
I got in line and cringed when I heard a girl say, ”Ma’am I read your ‘God Of Small Things,” Duh! Say something else. I felt really stupid as our representative (she was the only one talking) stated only the obvious. So, when my turn came and Arundhati Roy took my notebook, I only tried to justify by turning the page to where a blue felt reads, “…when hope seems lost, we must find the courage to dream. To reclaim romance. The romance of believing in justice, in freedom and in dignity. For EVERYBODY.” –AR
And added, “Thanks,” followed by my wannabe smooth talking about how challenging and encouraging her writings have been to me.
I don’t know if my words even reached her ears as she smiled and signed her name. I was only glad to be standing alongside a writer who was visiting her birthplace just in time for Bob Dylan’s birthday celebrations in Shillong town.