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Dear Sir Naipaul

You probably do not remember me. Correction. You definitely do not remember me. Unless I am mistaken, it would be truthful to say – you do not know me. Not in the least. But like so many readers of your literary genius, I am a huge fan. Which brings me to believe that I know you. I remember the very first time that I saw you. You were in a tweed jacket, strewn across the center page of Sunday(India), holding a glass of wine. Correction. It was not you, but your photograph in the stead. And clinging around it, was your interview. One which I cannot remember much about, except that it was not well received by the aam juntaa (the common man). As you will notice, being an aspiring writer myself, I have (rather discreetly if I may add) begun the use of colloquial words in otherwise routine sentences with no specific direction. And I digress !!

The reason I am sending you this note,  which really is a letter of apology is because of a collective feeling of guilt, emptiness and delight that I have experienced in the last few weeks. These emotions were dispersed over several sporadic instances. While some of these outbursts were set off  by a complete lack of control on my part, others were in fact well anticipated. As I write to you, I feel within myself an urge to bring out what has been inside, for days. I am ashamed for what I have pampered myself with and this is my confession !!

Forgive me, Sir Vidiadhar  for I have sinned ! I have spent several hours reading your books. One after the other. Most of them notable affiliates of your non-fiction empire. And during this time, (that is when I was soaking your words in), I was most comfortably situated in one corner of my humble abode. The corner that houses a white commode. Every day (and sometimes every night), as I commenced with the business of natural evolution, my eyes have devoured your writings with the speed of a high power evacuator. There was no stopping me, if you know what I mean !!

I know, that most your books have found their place in numerous academic syllabi. They have been provided with the highest form of ambience. And I wish to assure you, that it has been no different with this wonderful piece of masonry. The respect for your work is firm. For whatever it is worth, I do have an explanation. You see privacy has been a rarity since I immersed myself in matrimonial bliss and natural parenthood. Till the day, when I devised a way to transform my stay in the lavatory to what I like to call mini-vacation. True, it did induce some curiosity and a lot more concern from my spouse, who was used to my lightning speed visits for purposes of (for lack of better word) – Number 2. And for this I apologize !!

All fed said and done, I do wish to conclude this rather boorish correspondence. As far as my reading habits are concerned, I know it is not the best of the times. But believe me when I say, it is not also the worst of the times. Specially after a heavy dinner. I do believe that somewhere you will find in yourself the heart (and maybe the stomach) to forgive me. I would be relieved to know that you value my desire to experience gastronomical and intellectual ecstasy with equal density and spontaneity !!

Warm regards

Your ardent follower – (from the times when M.J.Akbar  changed the face of newspaper journalism)

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