A Story about Business, Cricket and Religion
Rupa & Co
My readers, you that is, to whom I owe all my success and motivation. My life belongs to you now, and serving you is the most meaningful thing I can do with my life. I want to share something with you. I am very ambitious in my writing goals. However, I don't want to be India's most admired writer. I just want to be India's most loved writer. Admiration passes, love endures. To Shinie Antony, a friend who has been with me all these years and who critically reviews my work and ensures that it is fit for my reader's consumption. My family, which continues to support me in all my ventures. Specially, my brother Ketan Bhagat for his critical feedback from Sydney and cricket freak brother-in-law Anand Suryanaryan who told me more about cricket than anyone else would have. The people of Gujarat, in particular Ahmedabad, where I spent some of the most wonderful and formative years of my life. My publishers Rupa and Co, who have fulfilled all my dreams and continue to pursue the goal of making India read. My friends in the film industry, who have given me a new platform to tell my stories from, and who teach me new things everyday, in particular Atul Agnihotri, Raju Hirani, Alvira Khan, Sharman Joshi, Vipul Shah, Imtiaz Ali, Shirish Kunder, Farah Khan and Salman Khan. The Madras Players and Evam Theatre Group, who turned my stories into wonderful plays. My friends in the media, especially those who have understood my intentions for my country and are with me. My colleagues at Deutsche Bank, my friends in Mumbai and Hong Kong. God, who continues to look after me despite my flaws.
It is not everyday you sit in front of your computer on a Saturday morning and get an email like this: From: Ahd_businessman@gmail.com Sent: 12/28/2005 11.40 p.m. To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: A final note Dear Chetan This email is a combined suicide note and a confession letter. I have let people down and have no reason to live. You don't know me. I'm an ordinary boy in Ahmedabad who read your books. And somehow I felt I could write to you after that. I can't really tell anyone what I am doing to myself - which is taking a sleeping pill everytime I end a sentence - so I thought I would tell you.
I kept my coffee cup down and counted. Five full stops already I made th re e mis tak e s ; I don 't wan t t o go in t o details. My suicide is not a sentimental decision. As many around me know, I am a good businessman because I have little emotion. This is no knee -jerk reaction. I waited over three years, watched Ish's silent face everyday. But after he refused my offer yesterday, I had no choice left. I have no regrets either. Maybe I'd have wanted to talk to Vidya once more – but that doesn't seem like such a good idea right now. Sorry to bother you with this. But I felt like I had to tell someone. You have ways to improve as an author but you do write decent books. Have a nice weekend. Regards Businessman
17, 18, 19. Somewhere, in Ahmedabad a young 'ordinary' boy had popped nineteen sleeping pills while typing out a mail to me. Yet, he expected me to have a nice weekend. The coffee refused to go down my throat. I broke into a cold sweat. ‘One, you wake up late. Two, you plant yourself in front of the computer first thing in the morning. Are you even aware that you have a family?' Anusha said. In case it isn't obvious enough from the authoritative tone, Anusha is my wife. I had promised to go furniture shopping with her – a promise that was made ten weekends ago. She took my coffee mug away and jiggled the back of my chair. ‘We need dining chairs. Hey, you look worried?’ she said. I pointed to the monitor.
`Businessman?' she said as she finished reading the mail. She looked pretty shaken up too. And it is from Ahmedabad,' I said, 'that is all we know.' `You sure this is real?' she said, a quiver in her voice....