Thursday, January 27, 2011

No 1 Fan - Part 3 - The Book

"Look, would it help if I told you why I'm here?"
His head snapped up at this sudden lifeline being thrown his way. He took a deep breath and said as if she'd just asked him whether he'd like her to remove the Great White Shark snacking on his vertebral column, "Yes, please."
"Very well then. This is why I'm here."
She fished around in the jhola she had with her. Finally she took out a book.
It was a rather unremarkable book, much dog-eared with a once bright yellow dust jacket, now faded with age and repeated perusals. The cover depicted a little boy and girl riding astride a centaur, surrounded by a multitude of fantastic beasts: dragons, manticores, ogres et al.
The Red Door by Tarun Rai.
A book that was widely panned by critics shortly before its release, but quickly sold out when it hit stores. Its signature blend of characters culled from a dozen different ancient myths, large, colourful and yet bland pictures, cringe-worthy verses, one-dimensional characters and more than a sprinkling of all-too familiar themes (plagiarism? Maybe a little.) proved inexplicably popular with children below the age of 10 and, more importantly, their parents. More important because whether or not their tiny tot really liked the book, every mother and father wanted their child to read it because it was "safe", "innocent" and, that most hideous of all adjectives, "cute".
And so it sold. Thousands of kids read about little Hari and Neha who find a gateway to a magical world called Jaadupur in their scooter garage, befriend Bawarchi, the erstwhile king (now chef) of the land and, finally, overthrow the evil dragon, Chip-kali, who had long ago usurped the throne (no explanation for why a dragon would want to usurp the throne, considering the local villagers already worshipped it. Not to mention how it did so, considering it was killed by a pair of 8-year-olds. With a broom. An enchanted broom, granted, but still, it's a rather tenuous argument.), after which they promptly and rather annoyingly live happily ever after with their various pixie friends who merely serve as cardboad cut-outs of characters.
He hated that book. Loathed it actually. He would often rip pages out of his own copy to use as toilet paper. He had also taken to ripping it apart in online chat rooms under the name TarunRaiSucks363784 (yes, there were actually 363783 others, probably more), an activity from which he derived a rather sadistic pleasure, especially if the person he was chatting with happened to be a fan. He actually kept a notebook in which he had noted down all the fallacies of the plot ('What happened to the kids' parents? Did they just leave them behind without even a note? Rotten kids.' or 'Exactly why is Bawarchi resigned to live his life as a chef? Do people really want such a lackadaisical, inefficient ruler who can't even find a damn broom without the help of little kids? Come to think of it, who the hell names their son Bawarchi? I mean, come on!!!' or 'Why the Red Door? Nowhere in the book is there a significant red door. The door to the scooter garage is painted white, for crying out loud!' and so on).
He despised it.
Its very name made him shudder in disgust.
It was also one of the first books he had written.


  1. Haha..left me on a cliff my friend...where's the bridge to take me across..

  2. Coming up soon. I have the basic progression all worked out, I just need to refine it.