Serendipity and After/44

a novel about publishing of a novel

It has been a little more than three months that I’m here on this magazine and I’ve begun to get a taste of what’s trash in all of its conceivable senses. News stories as trash, images as trash, entertainment as trash. Everything here is trash. As if it’s a trash center, not a newspaper office, and we are here to supply pure and unadulterated trash to our readers.

In the first month of my joining, I published a cover story and two news stories. That’s my tally so far. I don’t feel like writing anything for this magazine. Now I write intros, notifications, fillers. And letters to the editor. No reader writes any letter here, so I have to write on behalf of them. Thank you letter, critical letter, indignant letter, hate letter, letters of all kind so that people think they are organic. Trash!

Mr Sharma is busy with his scissor. He wants to use images to increase the circulation of his magazine. Since last week he has been publishing nubile Bollywood heroines in titillating poses. Trash!

Mr Newar is perpetually busy on his phone, requesting somebody for some favour in his other tone. He ingratiates the public relation officers of different public and private offices by sending one of his cars for their use. He sends them sweets and flowers on different occasions. He keeps in touch with all kinds of political netas. He brings in ads, sometimes a full page for the magazine. He kills all written material in a page to publish that ad. Trash!

So I was surprised when he called me in at his chamber one evening and told me that he was thinking of introducing a new column.

“You’re the right person to write it. You write short-stories and novels, so I believe you can perfectly craft this column for our readers.”

“What’s it about?”

“You know we’re now focused on our magazine’s circulation,” Mr Newar dodges my question, “We’ve to beat the Blitz. We want to make Caldust a national weekly.”

I watch his face and try to guess what he’s up to.

“So what do you think about this idea?”

“You’ve not yet told me about it!”

“Right. Before I tell it, let me ask you one question. Do you read anatomy in your medical course?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Female anatomy?”

“Both male and female anatomy.”

“I’m interested in female anatomy. So I presume you’ve a good idea and experience of female body parts.”

“Yes, but only ideas.”

“Why only ideas? Why are there the nurses? ” he chuckled in a vulgar way.

I didn’t respond.

“Look, I want you to write a sex column for us. You have the knowledge. You have the language. Just make them meet.”

When I came out of the office, Subhas was waiting for me at the gate. We went to a tea stall. I narrated the whole thing to him. He was agitated. “Didn’t I tell you he was a dirty men?” he said to me, “Now you should believe that he supplies young girls to his advertisers. You didn’t believe it the other day!”



Arin Basu, Tessa Why did you stop reading and commenting? Busy or bored?