So Anees Jung came to my book launch and actually bought a book and I signed it for her. Me signing a book for a famous author. A strange world indeed!
I didn't catch her name when she first introduced herself to me and when I asked her to repeat her name she said, "I'm somewhat famous, but we won't go into that." I wanted to crawl under a rock. Of course I know who Anees Jung is. She's a famous writer, author of such books as Lost Spring: Stories of Stolen Childhood, Beyond the Courtyard, Unveiling India and Peace in Winter Gardens, Seven Sisters, etc. Her father was an advisor to the last Nizam and she is from Hyderabad though she lives in Delhi.
After the launch when cocktails were flowing freely, she asked me, "kya piyogi. Whiskey chahiye?" I am so not a whiskey person!
As the evening came to a close she asked my my husband's name. I told her.
"You married a Hindu. Good for you. Good! If I had ever got married I would have married a Christian. Yes."
"Why?" I asked.
"There's something about Christians and Christianity that just attracts me."
Well, that's as good a reason as any. I'm just sorry I didn't spend more time with her. She was utterly fascinating and refreshing. I've ordered a bunch of her books now and hope to read them all. I've been remiss. I've only read parts of Unveiling India and I feel utterly uneducated.
And now, Anees Jung is holding my book in her hands, turning the pages, reading my words. Part of me feels connected with the literary tradition in India, a member of the sisterhood of Indian writers. The other part is just mortified and insecure. What if she hates it? Even if she does, at least I can say, I signed a book for Anees Jung and she actually read it. So there!