I was in a daze as I sat across the man with whom I had entered the coffee house a few minutes back. He beamed at me with a large smile which lit up his eyes like a 1000 watt bulb.
What shall you have? He asked.
Cappuccino, I answered mechanically giving him a mechanized smile.
You should also try their Brownies, said the man again giving me his trademark elongated smile.
The occasion calls for a little celebration, doesn’t it?
Soon the Capuccino and the brownies arrived; I nursed my coffee and looked at the man impatiently as he boisterously tucked into the Brownies.
After what seemed like an eternity, he wiped his hands with a paper napkin simultaneously grunting in satisfaction. I looked at him in anticipation.
He slowly opened the leather bag he had been carrying and carefully pulled out a new paperback. He held the paperback in both hands, stood up and ceremonially offered it to me, saying, here goes, your first book is out in print!
I grabbed the book in both hands gleefully with my heart thumping so loudly, that I was afraid that the old couple sitting in the next table could hear it. I sniffed at the book and exhilarated in the fragrance that only a freshly printed book can have, a fragrance made more special owing to the fact that the book was my own, and a culmination of years of hard work, rejections and broken dreams. I wanted this moment to be frozen in time but knew that this too would pass and live etched as a memory like so many other moments.
I looked at the aesthetically designed book cover and touched the name of the author, ’My Name’, with light fingers, fearing that my touch may erase the name.
I then gingerly opened the book to the first page and saw what I had imagined a million times staring at me in a beautiful black font:
‘I dedicate this book to my Father who is the one who has equipped the Quiver of my Vocabulary with millions of arrows’.
As I read these words, my mind flew back in time, to when I was a kid and how my house had always been full of books and magazines on all topics under and above the sun, how my father had always encouraged me to read, which I did voraciously. I remembered how he had looked at an essay I had written when I was in the Class-I and had beamed at me, saying, ‘Very Philosophical!’ and lovingly stroked my head.
“The Publishers are organizing a book launch, next week, I shall confirm the date, time and venue tomorrow’, my agent was saying.
I looked at him smiled and nodded. We shook hands and departed, I still clutched ‘my book’ to my heart as I walked swiftly to the parking lot to pick up my car.
It was raining heavily as I drove into the small lane that led to a small but compact house with a neatly laid lawn, the grass glistened silvery because of the raindrops, a cuckoo cooed enchantingly from one of the trees, as I parked my car and entered the house. The door was open and I walked in, he was sitting on an arm chair as if asleep.
I tiptoed silently into the room, careful not to wake him suddenly from his siesta, but that was not necessary.
Is it you, my son? Said my father without even turning to look at me.
Yes! Dad, I said as I placed ‘my book’, in his hands.
This is for you and because of you I said as I hugged him.
I opened the book, cleared my throat and started reading out loud, I had just read a few lines when my voice choked and tears filled my eyes, some drops falling onto the pages of ‘my book’.
My father who was the driving force behind my reading and writing, a voracious reader who must have read more than a million books, was not able to read ‘my book’.
He had been blind for the past ten years.
My father whose sense of hearing had been heightened after he lost his sight sensed my feelings when he heard my choked voice, he stroked my head lovingly and whispered, my son, this is the time to be happy and revel in your success, this is what I had always wanted, first for me and then for you, this indeed is ‘A WRITER’S WILDEST DREAM COME TRUE’!