One of the rewards of penning a column for a widely circulated newspaper is the response one receives not only from readers in India,but also from across the globe. It is gratifying for a columnist when someone from Saharanpur or Sweden makes the effort to write in. Occasionally,someone will also respond disagreeing with a point of view but it is nevertheless heartening that a healthy debate and an exchange of ideas have been initiated.
Readers have rejoined on various issues I have raised on subjects that range from religious conversion,water pollution,domestic violence and alcoholism to more frothy topics such as high-society shenanigans and Parsi films that will never make it to the silver screen.
Some enterprising readers,who have noted that I also make films,have mailed in their portfolios and resumes insisting I cast them in my forthcoming productions. After looking at their photos,I respond politely,wholeheartedly encouraging them to pursue their dreams whilst never,ever giving up their day jobs.
Apart from readers responses,I have been inundated with other emails on the address that appears at the end of this column. Several dealers of penis enlargement pills have been gracious enough to write in offering to sell me their wares. For some inexplicable reason,I have also been repeatedly winning millions of dollars in lottery draws that I cant remember entering in the first place. It seems my writing is widely read by some of the wealthiest widows in the world,who are anxious to enlist my support in releasing hundreds of millions of dollars they have locked up in the Swiss bank accounts. By a bizarre coincidence,the widows of both Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi want me to act as their go-between and are willing to pay me $ 300 million as reward money in exchange for my efforts. It gladdens my heart and fills me with pride to know that the bereaved wives of such upstanding despots have chosen me to be the recipient of such vast sums. My mind races as to which particular column of mine could have moved them so greatly as to appoint me the sole beneficiary of their munificence.
However,I keep all hubris in check as I reply to these ladies,expressing my inability to deposit money into their overseas accounts before they can release their husbands ill-gotten gains and retire me in riches. I explain I was not born yesterday and would never fall for these absurd get-rich-quick schemes that prey on the intrinsic greed of gullible patsies. I recently read of a senior police officer and an income-tax official that actually succumbed to these scams famously perpetrated by Nigerian fraudsters. These gentlemen gladly parted with a substantial amount of their own money in the hope of reaping a financial bonanza and then repented at leisure.
So,no,thanks,I dont want to become a billionaire overnight. A well-intentioned reader response is sometimes reward enough.