Sometimes, the most unlikely person notices, and will know you better than those close, or whose taste’s you rely on, so as to seek their approval when deciding on something you’ve aspired for long. This thought comes to mind, trailing those on the choice of my book’s cover.
I was to buy my first car in the year 1998, with my own earnings from working in an airline, based in Calcutta then. I had decided it would be a Daewoo – Matiz. This was after the gorgeous Lisa Ray became its brand ambassador. I was also wooed by the tagline “Love at first drive” in its print campaign, that highlighted the exclusive features of the Matiz in all its communications, just as by the comfort from a test drive I took of our family friend’s car. Now with this friend’s as well as my sister’s initiation, along with seconding by my parents, I booked a grey coloured Matiz.
The day I was to gain possession of the car, my sister and the family friend, my mother as well, and our family driver Shambhu – a man a few years older that I was, accompanied me to the showroom in Alipore. This is at the other extreme end of town from where we live in Salt Lake. We took a Taxi, so we could all return in the new car. While we waited in the showroom, the staff adorned my newly acquired car – after I had made the payments, with a number of free gifts like the wheel covers and the steering wheel grip etc. I decided to get the seat covers also installed, so the car would be ready to drive to work the next day.
It was at this point that Shambu walked up to me abruptly and said “Didi, don’t take this colour.” I looked at him in shock and replied “but why…its quite smart, isn’t it? Chot-di and dada also like it.”
“Its’ smart, but does not suit your personality at all.” He insisted “Please don’t take it.” I looked at him quizzically for a few brief moments: He had barely passed his 8th grade from his hometown in Digha and was quite a simpleton, yet thought it pertinent, that a car must match its owner’s personality right up to its hue.
I asked him, quite impressed actually, as I was then in the service quality department and very observant of such intricacies myself – “So which colour do you think will suit my personality?” He pointed to the car you see in the picture below and said “this one is very good for you.”
I looked at the car for a few seconds and promptly made up my mind on it. Then I approached my sister and friend seated on the sofa, both of whom vehemently opposed my choice, more so when they learnt who my newfound advisor was. Mother looked at Shambhu, nodding at him in approval as she stated “I was going to suggest you don’t take the grey, but you would not listen to me.”
Now it was just a matter of turning on my charm, to convince the salesmen of the sudden change in my choice. They politely conceded and quickly got busy in readying this blue car for us to drive home. As soon as we reached home, Shambhu driving us, I got my Lhasa Apso – Sylvie, and my father who was quite unwell then and at home, down and into the car, took them both for a test drive. The smile on my father’s face, Sylvie’s tongue hanging out with the wind blowing her snowy hair, are images still frozen in my mind. I was to have two pets thereon – one Sylvie, the other my very own blue Beetle – my Matiz.
How I wish, since husband’s opinion was given much precedence and credence over mine – due to his media experience and influence, he had more depth in understanding my ‘personality’ in the choice of my book’s cover, 😛 so as not to choose a grey one (it looks green but is grey)…This book, my first, is as dear to me as my last two pets – Sylvie and the beetle were.
To the left is how my debut novel Across Borders looks now and to the rights is how it was conceived to look like till the very end, just before it went into print…and how I would have personally liked it to look, till my publisher much seconded by my husband, chose the one to the left.
The one to the right is so much more me…everyone was opposed to the balloons and found them distracting and taking away the seriousness of the book, and why this artwork got shelved, but that’s what I loved most:) I was so thrilled with the balloons…especially the large heart shaped one.