2. Random person in store comes over to where I am sitting (just before book-event): “Give me three free copies”
3. Random person at Bangalore Lit Fest: “Are you a famous author?”
4. Standing behind two kids discussing MIHYAP at Kolkata Book Fair “Hebby nongra boi” (Very nasty book) in a tone of great reverence.
5. An old gentleman stealing a copy of MIHYAP at the Delhi launch event
6. Flipkart, during the release of Mine, organized an “event” at Kolkata Book Fair. Their stall was right next to Zee Bangla and a lot of the Grihini Games “public” had wandered over to the Flipkart stall because Flipkart was holding their own competition. “How long does it take you to buy a book on Flipkart” So this lady sits down, “wins” and asks “Perrize?” The eager 20-something man says “Ma’m you have won a book signed by the author Arnab Ray who is here (pointing to me) and you can sit down here for a meet-and-greet”. She looks at me, with eyes full of suspicion and asked “Keda?” (Lost in translation: Means Who?). Then she shouts at the Flipkart employee “Faltoo time noshto” and walks away.
7. Random lady at Bangalore Lit Fest: I am an author. I started writing a week ago. How much money do you make? Tell me no.
8. A man offering sex in exchange for meeting him. His words were “I would love to meet you but the only thing I can offer is…”
9. Being abused by book-store staff in two different Calcutta chain-stores, with the barked “We don’t talk to authors” still ringing in my ears.
10. Random person: “I have great ideas in my head. I want someone to write these up as stories and that’s how I want to be an author. Will you do it?’
11. Person *on panel* in my book event: “You are known to be a Hindu right wing fundamentalist….”
12. Media person: “Do you think it’s a good idea for bloggers to become writers of books?” I asked her to elaborate. She said “You know of late publishers have become desperate enough to approach bloggers to write books. Do you think thats a good idea given that they are, you know, bloggers?” [derisive smile]. I say “I am a blogger who got approached by a publisher. You know that, right?” She says “Oh”.
13. Media person interviews me in Hindi. I try to reply in Hindi. I suck at it. At one point I want to say place and instead of saying “jagah” I say “sthan” in my Bangali accent. I realize he may have thought I said “stan” (breasts) from his expression. We finish the interview in English.
14. Someone who read “The Mine”: I would never let you get near my child.
15. Multiple people on Twitter: Stop tweeting about your book on your own Twitter account.
16. Stranger at book-store event “I liked your book but would you appreciate some honest feed-back?” I say “Yes”. He says, genuinely concerned, “You should lose a bit of weight. Have you tried Yoga?”
17. On email from person I never met (I was in Calcutta then): I would like an autograph. I have bought a copy. Could you come to Salt Lake Sector V and sign it for me?
18. Favorite question ever asked at a book-store-event: “Why cannot Bengali men pick up women?” to which my answer was “For the same reason they can’t start businesses. Too afraid of rejection”
19. My father: Why do you speak whatever comes to your mind on social-media when you know you suffer for it?
20. On Twitter, random person: Tell me why should I buy your book.