‘Just look at these numbers. What’s in these contracts for our partners? What incentive do they have to invest more and make more money? So they can pay us more in the royalties?’

The question hangs in the air while our Varig flight bound for São Paulo pierces through the dark of the night. His question what incentive do they have? takes me back to ten thousand miles away and twenty five years earlier. And to my month long jaunt across the Indian sub-continent and to a different kind of dark nights, not up in the sky, but down on the earth. And instead of the jet engines roaring, I hear the screeching of locomotives on their tracks and the train slowly inching into a station. And hear the echo of Vidya Kapur, loud and clear:

Look Sahib, books are like whores, if the whores and the books are not dolled up and displayed, neither of them sell. What incentive do we have to give your books prime display space and sell more copies?

 

© Haresh Shah

Illustration: Celia Rose Marks

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Next Friday, April 18, 2014

HUGH GRANT IN MY SHOES

When in June of 1995, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill star Hugh Grant was arrested and booked by LAPD, his police mug shot along with that of the prostitute Devine Brown were splattered all over the international print and television media. I couldn’t help but think: it could have been me nineteen years earlier.

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