Before starting I would kindly request you’ll to close your ears while I try to say this at the top of my voice – “Ram sir, we did it. Woo Hoo.”
I’ll need to pinch myself before starting. There have been times during the writing and publishing of this book when I thought this dream of mine would never get fulfilled. But beating all odds, including my father’s illness, long hours at office with no weekends and constant rewrites and postponement’s I’m finally here, happy and accomplished.
First of all I would like to thank God for this day. If it weren’t for him, for the talents and blessings he bestowed on me there wouldn’t be this book, this day, me standing in front of you as Author Nelton D’Souza and giving this speech. Thank you God - my best friend. Only He knows what I’ve gone through. I hope this achievement makes Him proud.
My family is here today and it’s nice to see them travel all the way from Goa just to be with me. Though my mother doesn’t speak much I’m sure deep down within she is very happy. I remember the times when I and my mother used to go the market to purchase some groceries. I, more out of a habit used to put my arm around her shoulder. Looking at the stares she used to get from onlookers, my mother would often remark, “What people must be thinking, an old lady has caught such a young fellow.” To which I would reply, “So what Mama, if they’re getting jealous let them.”
My sister has been my book reviewer, cover designer, pillar of strength and the one who constantly encouraged me to write this book. She has played a vital part in this book and continues till today. I can’t thank her enough. Unfortunately my father couldn’t be with us as he is still recuperating but I’m sure he is in our midst.
Ram sir, and what can I say about him. When I was very young, I used to pray to God. “God, can you come down in person and be my guide?” I feel that Ram sir is the answer to my prayer. And how perfect can be it that he has two gods in his name. I met Ram sir in April 2010, the day I joined Capgemini. As if it was destined, even though he was the Associate Director, he was my manager – the one I directly reported to – something that made everyone else envious of me. Through my close association with him that lasted for exactly 13 months, he not only inspired me to give my best but also got the best out of me.
When Ram sir left Capgemini to head the Internal Systems at Syntel, a lot changed and we were fairly out of touch. But things got back on track when I shared my dream of writing a book with him. On a Friday evening we met at Café Coffee Day and boy, a lot did happen over coffee. We discussed the book, how to take it forward, and all other factors associated with it to make the book a success. That day, as I went back home I somehow felt confident. I knew I was no longer alone on this journey. Add to it, this book resurrected my chances of getting that one appreciation mail that eluded me, that appreciation mail, before which PMD ratings, appraisals and promotions, etc. all failed. If that wasn’t all, whenever things got too tough to handle, Ram sir constantly reminded me of my motive behind writing this book – not for any commercial benefits but simply to have my name on a book, which in turn allayed all my fears.
He has been one of the first with whom I shared this dream, the first to know of my fears, the first to like my Facebook page, the first to purchase my book, the first to review it and the first to whom I sent the invite to this book launch. If it weren’t for him, this book may not have been possible.
He is one person, I not only look up to but also wish to emulate in every single way; be it the way he walks, talks, smiles or dresses up. He is someone who is not only genuinely interested in the well-being of others but one who has the innate ability to stay as calm as a cucumber in high pressure situations. And also, the one who after 16 years of married life still calls his wife the love of his life. In fact, I often say this. I would have a problem in being a second Chetan Bhagat but I would go to any extent possible in being a second Ram sir. I hope and pray our relationship never ends.
Riaz, thanks for gracing this occasion. I did read Justice and I must say, that was one of the best pieces of short story I have come across; very heartfelt, touching and wonderfully written. I hope to write that well someday.
Being part of the same organization I came to know of Anish when he wrote his book Benaami. Our interaction grew over constant exchange of emails and it was very nice of him to personally invite me to his book launch at Crossword. I’m sorry to be mentioning about Crossword in Bookzone :). That day, I left early from office and travelled to Lower Parel from Airoli and on reaching there took one of the vacant seats in the last row. I still remember the scene on the dais, Anish and the chief guests stood as they unveiled the book. On seeing that I said to myself, one day I shall be there doing the same. It’s such a privilege to have Anish, the one who showed me it was possible to write a book while you have a full day job, to be here gracing this occasion.
There's this group of people whom I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart – my group of friends, the same people whom you could see running around this place making sure everything is perfect. I can’t thank my group, The Lunch Box as we’re called, and we had that name long before the movie with the same name released, enough for the sleepless nights, ideas, suggestions, photography, anchoring and the field work done. Shreevidya, Mugdha, Imran, Aditya, thanks a lot.
I also would like to thank Bookzone, if it weren’t for them we wouldn’t be having this event here. Jimmy and his staff have been supportive and helpful and that’s all a newbie author could ask for.
And finally, thanks to everyone present here. Thanks for taking out some time, travelling all the way to one end of our city just to make this event even more special for me. I have no words to thank you. This book State of the Heart is just the first on this journey of Author Nelton D’Souza. Until next time, happy reading.
Nelton D'Souza is the author of State of the Heart - a collection of short stories on relationships, love and life and can be reached on Facebook and Twitter. His book enjoys a 4 star rating on Goodreads and has sold out multiple times. It shall soon be out in its second edition. To purchase/know more, visit www.neltondsouza.com. Personally autographed copies can be procured at no extra charge by dropping an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Part of the proceeds of every book would go to charity.