Born in the family of Poets, Writers and Hindi Literature lovers, perhaps it was in my genes that I started writing Poems (Hindi Poems), as early as when I was in class 7th/8th.
I had a diary (grey color) where I used to pour down my emotions – all sorts of - Love, Relationships, Social Issues, Patriotism – with blends of both ecstasy and sadness. While everyone loves their creation, but as I started getting appreciation from veterans (specifically applauding the sharp messages in simple language), I got more confident. When one of my relative, who was a poet of international stature (apart from being a politician), appreciated me, I was pretty confident about quality of my poems.
Over a period of many years, my diary was almost full, and I now wanted to get published my book of poems. I shared this thought with my close friends of MBA in Pune and they were super supportive and appreciative….infact they were more thrilled about it than me. We all had a firm belief that given the quality, any publisher will easily publish my book.
But then reality kicks in, sooner or later. That was late 90s and Publishing was still a niche industry. We reached out to many known publishers in Pune, but none was ready to publish my book. While I could have used my family connects to get it done, but in that age, it was a challenge we undertook to get it done on our own (no favouritism, no references)
For one reason or other, almost all known publishers in Pune declined. Our joint confidence of getting it done on our own, was now going down. We deliberated about reaching out to publishers in Mumbai but were apprehensive of meeting the same fate.
Youth is known for doing incredible, out of the box things. Not ready to take further rejections, we decided in our huddle to get it published on our own. Me and my close friends, made a core team and distributed all the tasks amongst us – Designing, Proof reading, Editing, Typing etc. Within a couple of weeks, everything was done, and draft was ready. I named it ‘Smriti’ (Yaaden/Memories)
Then we reached out to Printing press but the price quotes were going over the roof. While we got worried but decided that there was no looking back now - we did crowd funding (of course I contributed the most, being my book) and within next few weeks shining 50 copies of ‘Smriti’ (with that typical smell of fresh print) were in our hands.
Next task was to arrange mega book launch. Some money was left from our crowdfunded kitty, so we decided to plan a proper event. We wanted a venue and one of my local friends, offered his big house for the event. Now we wanted a chief guest for book inauguration and Mrs Indira Poonawala (a well know writer, poet and recipient of many awards like Sahitya Ratna, ‘Sahityik Yogdaan, etc ) got ready to honour the event with her presence. A big book launch program was planned and successfully executed with almost all our social circle in Pune in attendance. An address by chief guest, myself, anecdotes by some of the friends, poems recitation, followed by snacks, chitchat marked the evening, and that event is still embedded in sweet memories of me and those friends.
Whenever we all meet, we talk and cherish that book publishing journey and launch event.
Post the launch event, I distributed the copies to all my near and dear ones. In absence of social media, we shared photos clicked during the event (with others those who couldn’t attend), and that was the sweet promotion of ‘Smriti’.
Recently, 22 years later, me and my friends in Netherlands got published a collection of our poems (this time published by a well-known publisher), I was also one of the key editors and launch event was done in cultural centre of Indian embassy with event telecasted all over the globe, amidst widespread social media promotion. I am also in the process of getting my new solo book published by a leading publisher.
I can’t help but reflect on what a journey, it has been from that self-funded/crowd funded book publishing, launch event to now. I really cherish my first book that I/We published.
(Thanking Amol, Ashish, Cibi, Leeno, Kaushal, Rashmi, Ranjeet, Sanjay, Sudeep and a few more…)