Good golly, Mr Moily!
Just as in theatres, sitting in the middle seats of middle rows at book launches gives me a unique vantage point. On Wednesday, my special location helped me to observe closely the workings of the venerable law ministry. At the launch of Shree Ramayana Mahanveshanam (Rupa, Rs 1,500, 22,000 verses, 43,000 lines, 1,522 pages), the double-volume English translation of Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily’s mammoth epic poem in Kannada, a perturbed law ministry official, tired of walking up and down the aisle of the auditorium, blew his top after finding reporters having taken all the seats reserved for ministry officials. No time was wasted in expressing his displeasure over the mismanagement in the auditorium — and here comes the fun part — which he compared to the mismanagement within the law ministry. While speeches on Ram Rajya and Moily’s contribution in depicting the journey that helped Lord Rama evolve into purushottam (the perfect man) echoed in the background, the Vibhishana in the gathering did his bit to burn down Moily’s Lanka.
It was a dark and stormy night for Ms Ringle
“For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss — a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.” That’s the opening sentence from Molly Ringle’s novel The Ghost Downstairs. You loved it, didn’t you? Well, know that the book has won Molly (not the similar-sounding man mentioned in the previous item, mind you) the Bulwer-Lytton Prize for this year’s worst sentence. Started in 1982, the Bulwer-Lytton Prize is sponsored by the Department of English at the San Jose State University, and is inspired by the first line of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1830 novel Paul Clifford: “It was a dark and stormy night...”. Ringle, the 28th writer to be, er, honoured has written this story about the romance between a nurse and a houseboy blossoming in the midst of growing paranormal activity. Molly said that she felt quite “ridiculous” and that one needs to have a special talent to write a sentence bad enough for it to win a prize. But you still want to read the book, don’t you?