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DOWNLOAD PDF - MB. Share Embed DURJOY DATTA WO R LD ' S BES T BO Y F R I EN D PENGUIN BOOKS Contents 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. Durjoy Datta was born in New Delhi, India, and completed a degree in a space, with my favourite Roald Dahl book, and stay there till the end of Dad's shift. Durjoy Datta was born in New Delhi, India, and completed a degree in engineering . a family, my brother excluded, who just stares into his books and reads.
She felt sorry for the doctor, too. I will talk to you in a bit, he said and disconnected the call. You could have used Avnis name instead, said Sumit. Which one is best among these? She whispered in his ear, Stay calm, and took his leave. Sometimes I think about how I am going to die. Having grown up in a family of chartered accountants and bankers and moneylenders, both money and keeping an account of money was what her life centred on.
Login X. User Name:. Forgot Password? Vijliwala Dr. Nagendra Niraj Dr. Buy More, Save More! Durjoy Datta. Hind Pocket Books Pvt. Of Pages. You may also like. Ravindranath Tagore List Price: Ek Chadar Maili Si By: Rajendra Bedi List Price: Charitrahin By: Sharat Chandra List Price: Devdas By: Krishnayan Hindi Edition By: Kajal Oza Vaidya List Price: Eleven Minutes [Hindi Translation] By: Paulo Coelho List Price: Alchemist [Hindi Translation] By: Animal Farm [Hindi Translation] By: George Orwell List Price: Aankh Ki Chori By: Krishna Chander List Price: Chhota Rajkumar By: Param Jivan By: Jim Stovall List Price: He paused before continuing, But theres no running away from it.
Thats why they signed me on, isnt it? Jayanti says I should stitch the posts on my social media accounts, including my blog, into a coherent story. I already have a readership, so it will help the book sell when it hits the bookshops. If you use your name with Shreyasis, readers will think Shreyasi is a real person, argued Avni. How does that matter? The book will have a fiction disclaimer, answered Daman. Avni had not met Jayanti Raghunath but she loathed how much trust Daman placed in her.
It was she who filled Damans head with notions of having his name on the spine of a book, being on the bestsellers lists, signing copies by the dozen, and being shortlisted for literary prizes with cash components that wouldnt even pay for a months groceries.
A few weeks back Daman had come back dizzy with excitement after his meeting with Jayanti Raghunath, 32, Executive Editor, Bookhound Publishers, the biggest English-language publisher in India. She had called him to an opulent five-star property and had blown him away with technical jargon, marketing terms and the sophistication of her publishing team. They made him feel big, important, talented, wanted. Daman was but an amateur scribbler when Jayanti had spotted him on the Internet.
He used to write short stories about an eponymously named boy Daman and a girl named Shreyasi on Facebook, Tumblr, Wattpad, his blog and wherever he could find readers.
Avni had stumbled on these short pieces of fiction when she followed Damans social media profiles on the Internet after their first long conversation. She must have fallen in love with him because she felt envy pierce her heart like a rusted dagger and lodge itself there. The stories felt real. She thought Shreyasi was a real person, an ex-girlfriend, a crush, or worse still, a current girlfriend. She had stopped talking to him for a few days till he clarified.
Shes fictional, she exists only in my head. I use my name because it helps me visualize things better, he had said. So theres no Shreyasi?
No, of course not. Not in my life at least, he had assured her. I just like the name. Are you sure? Writers are liars, my friends always say.
They make up stories for a living, she had said with a smile. Daman had laughed it away. But as they started seeing each other more often she had hoped Daman would start using her name and not Shreyasi. But it didnt happen. The imaginary mistress, Shreyasi, stayed in his stories. She never uttered a word though. What could she have said? Shreyasi was fiction, made- up, while she was real.
It was her hand Daman held, it was her body that Daman embraced, and it was she who he said he was in love with. Im the ONE, not Shreyasi, she would convince herself. Some of his online readers knew Shreyasi was fictional, while others thought it was more of a memoir, real incidents and stories with a smattering of fiction. Avni and Daman had cut a pastry to celebrate the first time one of Damans stories went viral and was shared over a thousand times.
Avni had suffered that day. Daman had noticed it, because a few days later hed written a story with the female leads name as Avni. She had been ecstatic but her happiness soon turned to ashes in her mouth.
The comments were harsh. No one wanted to read about this new character, Avni. They wanted Shreyasi back. They had rejected Avni. Why Shreyasi and not me? Shes not real! Im real! Avni had thought bitterly.
In time Avni learnt to live with it. So what do you think? Avni broke out of her reverie. She hadnt been listening. Its terrific. Im so happy. So when are you going to tell your parents? Daman frowned. Never if I can help it. You know how my dad gets. He wants me to suffer at a job I hate for the next thirty years. Have you decided on a title yet? Daman grinned widely. He flicked his cigarette away and leant into her. The Girl of My Dreams, he said. Thats the name of the first book in the series.
There will be more than one? Jayanti thinks it will be good to capitalize on the characters I have already created. She wants to change a few things but I dont think I will let her. Moreover, Shreyasi as a character is perfect. No, shes not! Shes your mistress, thats what she is. But she said nothing to him. A little later, Daman excused himself to go to the washroom. Her eyes followed him. Just as he went in, Avni noticed a girl at the far end of the coffee shop staring at the closed door of the mens washroom.
A few seconds passed but the girl was still unblinkingly staring at the door. An eerie feeling gripped Avnis heart. The girl was looking at the door and mumbling something, as if she talking to it. Daman, Avni heard the name escape the girls lips.
Avni wasnt sure at first. Daman, the girl whispered again. Most of her face was hidden behind her thick, dark cascading hair that fell down to her waist.
With a jerk the girl turned her eyes to look at Avni. Her face was pale as a corpse and her thick black hair melted into darkness. She held Avnis gaze. Her eyes were eerily opaque. She was beautiful but there was something terrifying in her beauty, something cold and sinister and hypnotic. The girl smiled at Avni. Avnis heart thumped. She looked away.
Her arms were covered in goose pimples. Avni pretended to text to pass the time. She could still feel the strange girls onyx-like eyes on her. Her relentless stare made Avni feel like a spider had crawled inside her clothes. What is taking Daman so much time? Time passed slowly. She could still faintly hear the girls mumblings but couldnt make out a word except one. Where are you lost? Avni noticed she was sweating. Daman took his seat and blocked the girl out of her view.
She breathed easy.
I was thinking we should go out and celebrate in the evening, said Avni. Daman flashed a thumbs up. I will call you. Arent you late? Avni nodded and he asked for the bill. Before long, the waiter placed the bill on their table. After he collected the money and left, Avni noticed a stray piece of paper on the tray. She picked it up.
Whats that? On the paper written in a beautiful handwriting was a message. Daman read it out: Best of luck for the book. I know it will be beautiful. Avni turned towards the noise and saw the girl walk out of the door. The bell was attached to the door. When she turned back, she found Daman laughing. He thought it was Avnis idea of a practical joke. Avni smiled weakly and then stared at the lipstick impression on the piece of paper. A deep, dark, ominous red.
Daman checked his reflection in the dirty, speckled mirror. His white shirt was new, bought just for today, but it looked pale under the weary tube light. He had been meaning to change the tube for the past couple of months but hadnt got around to it.
He wouldnt have had to care about the tube light or the faulty stove or the leaking tap if he still lived with his parents but. He popped the pills hed kept on the shelf under the mirror and chewed on them. He hoped the bitter aftertaste would be a reminder to not drink. In any case, the pills didnt make for happy companions with alcohol. He always felt as if the combination made his brain devour itself. He shaved twice, cut himself in three places, and dabbed the aftershave balm he had bought the day before.
There was plenty of time before he had to leave. He paced around nervously in his apartment. He smoked to calm his nerves. Jayanti had told him these parties seldom started on time. It wasnt as much a party as a get-together with everyone who had worked on his book, The Girl of My Dreams. After toiling tirelessly for six months, quitting his job and moving to a one- room-kitchen of his own, draining gallons of coffee, spending hours arguing with Jayanti over specifics, which stopped just short of them verbally abusing each other, the book was due to hit the stands in two weeks and today he would have the first copies in his hands.
Traffic was sparse but he drove slowly, steering away from the faster lanes and the SUVs. His car was practically new. It had cost him most of his advance from the book. He felt rich as he grasped the stitched premium leather on the steering wheel. His father hadnt been impressed with his extravagance and had called him stupid and rash like he always did.
He drove past Rajouri Garden and Naraina Vihar. He had just taken the serpentine flyover at Dhaula Kuan when it started to rain. A drizzle and then a downpour. He slowed down even further and switched on the blinkers. He had barely driven for a kilometre when a speeding motorcycle overtook him from his left and grazed his car ever so slightly. His lips turned into a snarl. Daman stepped on the gas. The engine responded with a groan and a roar.
Damans blood tingled with anger, his scars throbbed. Water splashed all around him. Within seconds he was driving next to the motorcycle.
Daman rolled down the window. The motorcyclist noticed him gesticulating. He weaved away from Daman, accelerated and whipped into more traffic. Daman didnt let up. He chased him down ten kilometres away from the skirmish to the motorcyclists destination.
Parking right in front of the motorcycle, he jumped out of the car, his hands clenching and unclenching. The motorcyclist had scarcely taken off his helmet when Daman swung wildly, getting the man square on his jaw. His knuckles rang with pain.
Before the man could recover, Daman landed three more blows, each one catching the mans face. The man stumbled and fell. Daman walked away from him, his heart continuing to pump urgently. It felt good. He put the key into the ignition and drove away from the scrambling man. I can do with some duelling with Jayanti too today, for tampering with and destroying my book. He tried to smile. Its not destroyed. She knows what shes doing. He drove. Calm down. Jayanti and he had come a long way since theyd signed the contract and the path had been thorny.
It had been half an hour since he had battered the man but he was still antsy.
At a distance he saw Jayanti step down from her Audi Q5 and hand over the keys to the valet. Dressed in a shimmery silver dress, she looked resplendent, almost royal. Tall and tight like a whip, she strode towards Olives entrance, her thick thighs straining against her dress. In her hands she carried a little brown bag. The Girl of My Dreams. Author copies.
My copies. My book! His name would be on a book for all of eternity. It would be his legacy. And yet happiness eluded him. He stepped down from the car, checked his hair and his smile in the side mirror. He missed Avni.
Things would have been much easier had she been there. She would have calmed him down. Daman sauntered towards the entrance, practising his smiles. Hands went up, wine glasses in the air, and everyone shouted his name in unison as Daman walked in. Jayanti Raghunath stepped ahead, smiled widely, hugged him and thrust a glass of wine in his hands.
Damans refusal withered when it met with shouts of Drink! Just one drink, he thought. She introduced him to everyone. Most of their faces were flushed and they were inordinately happy with the book.
They were also a little drunk. Ritwik, a smallish, fat, jovial guy, had designed the cover. Shraboni, a beautiful dusky girl with a strong voice, had worked on the final edits. Farhad, a tall, fair, handsome man with a little paunch, was the fiction marketing head. There was also a bunch of guys from the production and sales team whose names Daman had forgotten as soon as he heard them.
The waiter refilled his drink. The wine was expensive and delicious, better than anything he had had before. Its my day, he reminded himself. I will call a cab. A little later, a cake was cut and Daman was handed over the first copies of The Girl of My Dreams, a page-long book with a red and black minimalist cover, amidst frenzied claps and long hugs.
They left him alone to enjoy the copies. Daman held a copy in his hands, smelt it, flipped through the pages, and ran his hands over the cover. He wasnt as joyful as he had imagined he would be all those months back when hed signed the contract. Jayanti turned up next to him and put an arm around him. Her breath smelt of wine. Like it? I told you, didnt I? It will all be okay when the book comes out. You stress about the little things. Little things? Shreyasi was not a little thing.
Jayanti scowled. Now dont start that again. Those changes were important. Thats dead and buried. This is your day! Enjoy the moment, Daman. This will be the start of something amazing.
Daman skimmed through the book as Jayanti droned on about how excited everyone was. The more he read the more he was filled with revulsion. This book was as much Jayantis as it was his; she hadnt just edited it, she had written large parts herself. He wanted to scream. Instead he drank. Okay, wait. I will dispel your fears, said Jayanti and waved Shraboni down.
Shraboni was already hammered. She stumbled twice before she placed herself in front of Jayanti and Daman. Shes read the book. Twice, said Jayanti. Whos your best character, Shraboni? Daman pulled a face and sulked.
Daman said, You need to congratulate Jayanti for that. My Shreyasi was different. Dont say that, interjected Jayanti. What the fuck am I supposed to say then? The people at the other tables looked at them strangely.
Jayanti asked Ritwik to take Shraboni away. She turned to Daman after she left. I told you. Let the book come out. Everyone will love the new Shreyasi.
You can mope all you want if she doesnt work. It will be on me. The waiter asked Daman if he needed a refill. He knew he shouldnt drink; blackouts were common with him. But he needed to forget. He nodded. The waiter filled his glass to the brim. There was no point in pursuing the Shreyasi conversation any more. Whats done was done. Jayanti had bulldozed her way into the book and wrecked the Shreyasi Daman had thought of.
The Shreyasi in the book was a far cry from the cracked, lunatic, lovely, peculiar girl he had painstakingly created. His pale-faced Shreyasi was a mathematics major, a gold medallist no less, working with a start-up that made algorithms for search engines. She filled her time reading thick books on organic chemistry and ancient history and dead religions. She liked museums, caffeine, fire, multiple orgasms, Daman the character , occasional BDSM and knock-knock jokes.
Coy and polite, she was an English major, an intern at an online news portal. She was all parts boring and bullshit. This is what will work.
This is what sells. After numerous delays and skipped deadlines, Daman had given in. Daman drank through the rest of the evening. Slowly everyone left. Jayanti was the last to leave. She told Daman he could stay if he wanted to.
After she left, Daman sunk back into the couch and ordered for numerous refills. Things became muddy thereafter. He started to read the book. The sentences Jayanti had written floated outside the book, coiled around his neck and squeezed it. His chest tightened. Before long he tossed it away. He ordered another drink.
He passed out soon after and dreamt of angry readers burning his books in large piles. He woke up to a waiter staring at his face and asking him to leave. He stumbled out of Olive with an unfinished bottle of champagne and walked to his car.
He put the bottle to his lips. He fumbled for his phone to call himself a cab but couldnt find it. He imagined ripping Jayantis throat out. He passed out. When he opens his eyes next he sees a girl in the drivers seat smiling at him. Hi, says the girl. Are you for real? Show me your face, he slurs. He sees the girl smile. I will remember your face, he says. I hope you do, he hears the girl say. He mumbles a few words, smiles stupidly and drifts off. He wakes up and finds himself in the back seat.
Where are we going? Are you Shreyasi? No one answers. His head swims. The world spins violently around him. In the drivers seat he sees the girl again. Dark hair, white skin, deep dark eyes, violently red lips, as if she has stepped out of his book, The Girl of My Dreams. Shes Shreyasi. Hes sure of it.
He smiles in a drunken stupor. No, I am dreaming, Jayanti killed you, he says in disbelief. She destroyed you, he continues. I am dreaming, its the pills and the alcohol, he says to himself. I shouldnt have had the last bottle.
Sleep, youre drunk, baby, he hears the girl say. And like a child, he sleeps again. He wakes up. The car is parked in a deserted area. Theres silence. He tries to help himself up but loses balance. Falling forward he cuts his lower lip and bleeds. The girl is reading his book, The Girl of My Dreams. She turns towards him.
The kindness has drained out of her face. She is glowering. She pulls out a spanner and keeps it on the passenger seat. Then she takes out a lipstick and darkens her lips in the rear-view mirror. Putting the lipstick back in, she raises the spanner as if to smash his face with it. This is not me, he hears the girl say. The book, the fucking book! He woke up with a jerk. He tried to feel his face; he wasnt hurt but he was bleeding from a small cut on his lip.
He was in the drivers seat of his car. It was parked outside his apartment building. He stumbled out of the door on all fours and promptly vomited. He belched and retched and vomited till there was nothing but air inside him.
He slumped against the front tyre. Sitting there he drifted in and out of sleep, sweating under the beating sun. It wasnt until noon that he was wide awake. He found himself inside the car with the air conditioner on full blast.
He turned the AC down. Sitting inside the car, he cursed himself for having drunk so much and strained to think what happened the night before. The motorcyclist. The party. The book. The waiter. The dream. The girl? Another fucking dream. There were twenty missed calls from Avni and a few from his parents. He called Avni first. What the hell is happening, Daman? I have been calling you since forever. I was so scared! I just got drunk last night, he said.
I only just got home. I called Olive and you had left when they closed. Where were you? Yes, yes. I drove back home and passed out in the car. I just woke up, he said. He pressed his hand against his head which was bursting with pain.
He needed a Crocin. You drove back home drunk? What is wrong with you, Daman? And what was that text you sent me? What text? I didnt send you anything. Avni read out the text. You dont deserve him. I didnt send that, he said. He added after a pause.
I must have been trying to send it to Jayanti. Why her? The book, Avni. I got the author copies and its. I will talk to you in the evening. I feel like Im dying right now Do you want me to come over? No, I will manage.
See you in the evening? I will talk to you in a bit, he said and disconnected the call. He found the text he had sent Avni in the Sent folder. He was glad he didnt end up sending it to Jayanti. But he wondered why he referred to himself in the third person. I should stop drinking. He looked around for the books in the car. He checked the glove compartment, the boot of the car, even below the seats.
He couldnt find them. He figured he must have left them at the restaurant. Disappointed, he stepped out of the car to call Jayanti and ask for more copies. He had just dialled her number when he noticed what he thought was the burnt jacket of his book a couple of yards away from the car. He disconnected the call. Is it the book? He walked closer to inspect. He bent over the smouldering heap of ashes. All that was left of the five author copies of The Girl of My Dreams was blackened paper and ash.
He picked out one half-burnt jacket which had miraculously escaped the flames. When did I do this? He texted Jayanti asking her to courier him more copies of the books. Daman trudged back to his apartment thinking of the book. The opening line that described Shreyasi written by Jayanti came rushing to his headBorn in , fair-skinned Shreyasi was every boys dream; nice and soft- spoken, she was a bundle of joy and kindness.
Damans stomach churned. Jayantis words ran in Damans head. He grabbed her by the hair and rammed her head repeatedly against the glass walls of her cabin till the cracked glass dribbled with blood and brains. Her body slumped to the ground, her fingers twitching, her legs trembling. Daman stomped on her smashed skull till she was unrecognizable. A fitting punishment for changing his book to a hunk of shit.
He snapped out of his reverie. He was staring at the cracked glass walls of Jayantis cabin. Jayanti sat smiling in her chair, waiting for Daman to speak. Why does this room smell like shit? Can we come to the point? You answered Jayanti. You said everyone will love this new Shreyasi. They fucking hate her, grumbled Daman. You have no idea what youre talking about, Daman. Stop pacing around first and sit down. Youre freaking me out, said Jayanti leaning forward in her chair, hands crossed over the proofs of the book that was due for printing.
Three cups of black coffee lay empty on her table. Hundreds of paperback and hardback books lay stacked in teetering towers around her table. Millions of words by authors known and unknown were scattered all around her. Jayanti looked at Avni. Ask him to calm down a little, will you? Avni tugged at Damans arm. Daman sat down.
He spoke, Are you kidding me, Jayanti? People dont like my book. Go, check the reviews online. They hate the Shreyasi in the book, the Shreyasi you created, the Shreyasi you wrote out. Shes just someone whom the protagonist loves and fucks. She needed to be more than that. And Im goddam tired of answering the question if the main guy in the book is me. I told you we should have given the guy a different name than mine. We are NOT having this conversation again. Because we used your name, people think its a true story and readers lap up true stories like anything.
You should know that, right? Even movies do that all the time. Do you really think those movies are based on true events? Daman had feebly protested about the edits and rewrites till the day before the book went into print but there was no winning against the cunning of Jayanti who predicted doomsday for the book if they didnt do that.
I will just read the reviews out. She read them out. The book is a classic romance. Loved the ending. In love with Shreyasi I cried so much in the book. Heart emoji. Crying emoji. I totally heart emoji heart emoji the story. What are you talking about? Most of the reviews are good. She turned her MacBook around. Daman rolled his eyes. Avni pulled the laptop close and perused the reviews. They were overwhelmingly positive. But these werent the only reviews online.
The most scathing reviews were from people who had read Damans short pieces of fiction on Facebook before he had signed the deal and had come to fall in love with the old Shreyasi. They called him a sell-out. He blamed it all on Jayantis overbearing editing. If only Daman had known that behind that beautifully elongated body, those kind, tired eyes of Jayanti, there was a manipulative, control-freak shrew. Avni had borne most of the brunt of Damans anger, being the only one who could keep him from self- destruction.
Jayanti continued, Look, Daman I dont know what kind of acceptance youre looking for but selling 15, copies of a debut book in the first three weeks constitutes a resounding success. You need to stop thinking what a few people think about your lead girl character. Look at the bigger picture.
The book is a hit! Its even on the Bharatstan Times Bestseller list. Why dont you tape it to your head and strut around then? I dont know what youre complaining about, Daman. Other debut authors would kill to be in your position right now. She has a point, said Avni. Daman threw Avni a murderous look. He said, Should I clap for you, Jayanti? He mocked her. People out there are calling me another Karthik Iyer, the lowest fucking denominator.
Listen, Daman. You were writing notes on Facebook when I spotted you and gave you this book deal. Dare you make it sound like I wrecked your career! I gave you a career if you look at it closely. You spotted me, remember? You came to me. You offered me a book deal because you thought the book would work. It wasnt charity. You knew I had an audience online that would buy the book.
You knew my book had potential. Jayanti laughed throatily. Like really? Followers on Twitter and Facebook dont mean anything, Daman. It doesnt cost money to like or share something. It takes a good relatable book, a marketing plan, a smart editor, a smart publicist to sell a book. People share videos of poor people dying all day with sad smileys and complain about how wretched the world is but wont part with a rupee for them.
How would you have made them spend on you? They already did. Data isnt free, Jayanti. Big joke, Daman. Youre so funny. Why dont you put that in your next book, haan? Avni looked at the two of them volleying verbal insults like a spectator at a tennis match. Avni had been in this cabin once before. It was the day Daman had signed the contract for his book which was supposed to change his life.
That day she had noticed the massive cloth board behind Jayanti Raghunaths heavily cushioned chair. It had been covered with jackets of all the bestsellers Jayanti had edited in her decade-long career. Some thirty-odd books in ten years. The probability of success had made Avni nauseated. What if Damans book doesnt go up there?
But today the board was covered completely with a white chart paper. Im getting something done here, Jayanti had offered as an explanation. It wasnt the only thing that had changed in the cabin. The desk looked new. Even the printer and the laptop and carpet looked largely unused. The glass wall was cracked and splintered.