Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Bestseller

The Bestseller

Intermingled with fact and fiction, this story is still one of my favourites and it also enchants readers more than most of my other stories.
This is a story of a hard-working and successful man, who in spite of his notable achievements never gives up his humility. Leading by example, he teaches his children that real success lies in the way one is remembered after one’s demise.
One may die, but one continues to live on in the personality, morals and ideals of one’s children. Life is ephemeral but memories are not. In the few years we have to live, let us do things which will make people remember us with a smile, long after we are gone

Old habits are like gout to an old man-they always keep coming back. I, an old man now have quite a few such habits and one of them is speaking of the ‘past days’ with my children. And one day a series of fond memories flooded my mind, which I decided to relate to my kids.
‘I was only thirteen then. The Indo-Anglican writers were making fast progress and were winning worldwide acclaim. Writing was one of my hobbies and I had decided that I would write a novel to begin with! One day when my father and I sat reading the newspaper I told him of my secret ambition. “Daddy, I want to become a well-known novelist and I have decided that my first novel should be your biography. How you worked hard from a poor lecturer to the high-earning professor you are today, should make a wonderful novel.” And then he said those words, which I would forever remember. “No sonny, my life can never make a bestseller.”
I was disappointed then, for making a choice on what topic to write on was difficult. But little did I know what a great impact those words were going to have on my life, on the man I am today. I decided I would remind him, on every small and interesting incident of his life, that his life-story could indeed win me the attention I wanted.
When I was born, we lived in a two-room house and belonged to the ‘lower middle class’. But my father had big dreams, he knew his hard work had brought him, a simple labourer’s son, to where he was then. He also knew that if he continued to do so he could give his family more comfort and his children the best life. He worked hard, took tuition, had us educated in the best school. When I was seven and my brother three, we moved into our own house with two bedrooms and many other rooms. We had arisen from the ‘higher class’. Yet, my father never spoke of these as his achievements. They were bits of luck fused with his ancestor’s blessings. Whenever I spoke of these, the same answer awaited me-“ My life can make no bestseller!”
I remember when he bought us a car. His delight was unmatched. “No more pushing and puffing in the buses,” he had said. Some days later I told him what I had already mentioned many a time. “Every achievement you garner, every milestone you cross is only building up my novel.” And pat came the same answer I could never question. “No son, it will never make a bestseller.”
And when I graduated from university, I came to him in my well-ironed back gown and head gear which we as children called ‘clownish’. When I handed him the crisp certificate tied by a satin blue ribbon, his face beamed with satisfaction. It looked like Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon. This time he answered the look on my face. “ This scroll is yours and so is this achievement. These events won’t turn my life story into a bestseller. I am sure you can find many more enchanting topics and ideas.”
When I worked hard and drew a hefty salary, when my boss praised me, when my novels sold like hot cakes, whenever I felt good about my life I thanked my father. He had made me whatever I was or I am. Yet he would al ways smile and say, “my life can make no bestseller!” When I got married he was the happiest man on earth and I still remember when I called him up to tell him that my first child was about to be born. “ We’re coming son,” he yelled happily.
He came to the hospital room rushing, as if his tail were on fire, and mother hardly able to catch up. When he held my son in his arms and looked at me, he did not utter a word. His eyes said it all. “ Make your life so great that your son should want to write a bestseller on you.”He was my guiding star all my life. Even after he left for his heavenly abode his guidance still leads me on to be a better man, a better husband and father. I never wrote a novel on him, not because his life could not make a bestseller but because I might not be able to make a bestseller out of a best-lived life.’


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At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Parth,
Gr8 writing man ..
This particular story touched my heart. Well done man !!!
I've a good suggestion for U, Please disable these anonymous posts, These are like a black moles on your flawless writing ..
Nevertheless, I'm doing the same thing :)


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