Kalpana, we at India Currents would like to emulate Smrithi. You might not be our Aunty, but you have definitely been a part of this extended family of writers, editors, artists, and performers who have enriched the magazine over the years.
To our readers — enjoy. And buy the book.
“Imagine my surprise when I learned that my book turned up at a fourth grade classroom in New Hampshire a couple of days ago. My niece, Smrithi, apparently decided she must do a show and tell of the book in her class at school. She told her classmates who the protagonist was — her grandmother’s eldest brother — and that this book, written by her aunt in California, narrated the story of her father’s side of the family. The school principal was in attendance in the classroom and asked the most important question every writer wishes to hear: “And how do we get this book into our library?” The kids asked a lot of questions that Smrithi fielded with her usual panache — this child will get Bob Mueller talking — and, naturally, for me, this unexpected guerilla marketing from a fourth grader translated instantly in my mind into many hundred thousand dollars and cents. Was I about to get wealthier than Rowling who was wealthier than the Queen?
Let’s not underestimate the power of a subtle product placement. In the 80s, Hershey’s Reese’s Pieces blazed a trail in the world of advertising when they appeared on Steven Spielberg’s ET. iPhones and MacBooks hog the Hollywood screen and guarantee many million dollars for Apple which, like me, doesn’t spend a cent for these placements. It struck me that this clarion call for my book could in fact be conducted at the grass roots — across America’s schools — with Smrithi as my first foot-soldier.
On the day of her presentation, Smrithi held Daddykins up in front of the class, telling the kids to go out and buy it on Amazon or in the stores starting December 18 “when it goes on sale for $17.95”. She ended her pitch with one caveat always posted by her aunt on behalf of the writing community: “Don’t ever borrow the book from someone else. Please go out and buy it.”
We reprint this piece with permission from the author.
This article was edited by Culture and Media Editor Geetika Pathania Jain.