After my first book was published last year, I was on cloud nine, and many people, other than a few exceptions, too gave me an impression that I have joined a different league of people called authors.
To me it was all the more an important occasion in life as I had completed a work that I had planned while I was a research scholar a quarter of a century ago.
Both of my external examiners, who had approved my research thesis for PhD degree, had opined that the thesis could be published in a book form as it is.
However, I never wanted to be an author who would become famous or at least known only in academic circles. So I thought I would publish my thesis in a book form only after making it more reader-friendly, which a common man too could understand easily, and which would make me a popular writer.
But when you are working for 30 days to make ends meet for the next 30 days, you don't get any time left to do anything else other than the nine-hour office work that too after commuting in heavy traffic.
Also, like anyone else, I also faced some personal problems during this period, and probably the share of my problems was much more than most of the people. Anyway, I kept on postponing my book project and I did not realise that nearly 20 years had passed. For the first time I understood the meaning of the oft-quoted saying that "time flies".
Completion of the book changed my life. I started feeling that I had offloaded a burden that I had been carrying for so many years. Not only that, I was able to start thinking about new projects.
After the completion of the book, I distributed it amongst my friends, colleagues and some authors. One day during my India visit recently I called up the famous author Khushwant Singh. He himself picked up the phone. After his hello, I told him, "I am Devendra Singh, I have written a book, and I want to give you a copy of my book as a gift."
He said, "I cannot hear you, as I am deaf." I thought a 96-year-old man must be having hearing problems, so I should speak loudly and slowly. I repeated again, almost shouting, "I have written a book."
He answered immediately, "I don't care." Ignoring his interruption I continued my sentence, saying, "I want to give you a copy of my book."
After repeating my sentence a couple of times, he could hear what I was saying, and then he told me to leave the book at his son's residence, and he gave me the address.
Next day, I was standing at the given address, and as I extended my hand to ring the bell at the door, I saw written there, "Don't ring the bell unless expected." After I convinced myself that I should be considered among those "expected", I pressed the button. A servant opened the door, took my message and went inside the house to come back again to receive the book. I asked him whether it will reach its destination, he told me that he [Khushwant Singh] himself is sitting inside, and he will hand it over to him.
I returned asking myself "why does popularity make such people crazy to the limit of insanity? Don't they understand that if the new generation had not been doing a better work, human beings would still be living in caves?"