In law school one of the very first principles that we encountered as 1st year students was the “egg skull/ shell” theory – which to state in simple terms lays down that you cannot blame a person for being negligent when you are over sensitive!
Why this? Am I teaching you Law of Torts 101 – oh hell NO! Am swamped editing a 600 pager manuscript for my upcoming law book and trust me after I get done with that, I don’t think I want to impart legal gyaan for a long long time.
This is because of some food for thought that has accumulated over the weekend and I am thinking whether it’s them or is it me, who needs a refresher course on dealing with people!
Them here can be divided into two categories – those who think being close is asking for free copies of the book and the other category is those who do not really know what a joke is.
Disclaimer are those BFF’s who are reading and have joked about a signed copy when I get a best-seller going *the sneaky me agreed knowing that there is no best seller in sight – ha ha ha * – this is NOT for you (also it is a different fact, that despite the jokes ALL of you have bought the book and never really waited for me to courier a copy – My darlings muaaah!). This is for that “mama ke bete ke tau ke school friend ke chachi ne behen ke mausa ke friend ke FB contact ke bhai ke Twitter buddy ke nati ke dost” who just happens to be an acquaintance and truly feels that since he / she knows you it is but your duty to gift them a copy of your book, with a long hand written note saying how much he / she means to you and with the gifting comment that if he/ she doesn’t like the book then you shall ask your publisher to withdraw it from the market!
If you refuse however, you get to hear that you are just being an @$$ as the publisher has definitely given you an unending mountain of free copies! The stingy you is then given looks that can even burn down the library at Alexandria and for a long time at every meeting you are told tales of your inconsiderate behavior.
I asked one of them if they ever knew what went into writing a book? One I asked if she would be happy if her husband worked without a salary because after all he was helping friends! True to my expectations she got flustered and dared me to utter one more word against her husband. I just smiled and she hurled that she husband is an “ENGINEER” and thus his profession cannot be joked about. She was “just joking” with me as people usually crack such jokes at “Authors” – esp the not famous ones! Yes she said that!
The conversation that followed is not what bothers me, what bothers me is her mindset and what I considered ignorance and insensitivity! :/
The other acquaintance pinged from US of A to let me know that he had “downloaded my book” – horror of horror for any author. With the piracy market on the rise, I know how much precautions I take to ensure that no pdf is actually found on the net of ACTC. It means running late night searches, pleading tech friends to help me and a lot of other things. However, we do not think of all this because it is yet again a joke people like me should be used to. Also, am a strong supporter of anti-piracy, I truly believe that creativity does come with a price tag just like the shampoo you love and are willing to spend for! If you expect it for free, you are actually promoting a very dark future! The conversation flinched me:
Time and again I have wondered how people find such things to be funny, when did we lose respect for emotions and sentiments? The brilliance of the most common retort amazes me : “Of course, now you have become way too big for jokes from friends like us” or the complete opposite : “Who do you think you are, Jhumpa Lahiri that I should think twice before talking to you!”
I have always acted like me, the mirror still smiles the way it used to 6 months back! I still am the goofy, sarcastic moi with my girl gang – to me I haven’t changed and to all those who think I have, am proud of the change! Also, the fact that it’s not about me – it is about the mindset towards a profession that I speak for! Why shouldn’t you pay a doctor just because he/she is a friend? Why should you pay a lawyer because you know him from school? Why do we have to mix friendship with the professional services an individual has to offer and then when questioned, turn personal?
Still somewhere the food for weekend thought is – have I suddenly developed a weak egg skull? Or do you also find it as distasteful humor as I do?
All that was playing in the background as I typed this was “respect’ by Aretha Franklin on a loop: