Chopra opens the Flood Gates With a Scrapbook of Memories

ashok-chopra-book-scrapbook-memoriesHow do we get to know the real self of our favorite authors? How do they think, write and go on publishing their notes, scribbled sometimes on matchboxes, paper napkins or on the back covers of their favorite books. Sometimes a single paragraph or even a line of wisdom can turn a reader loyal to the author. We then go on churning internet for hours to know the publishing process of the works we love, the hardships that our author has gone through with and about the hidden inspirations. This is the next degree of being a loyal reader. We often notice such loyalty in movie buffs; they know the names of directors, actors, writers, lyricists and even production team members before even entering in the movie hall. But seeking all such details is pretty tough in case of books. On googling author’s name or the book, you get numerous links leading you to buy the book or a fine 300 word piece written by PR people for marketing of the title. The Ace publisher Ashok Chopra has opened the flood gates by publishing ‘The Scrapebook of Memories’. Now, others publishers can follow. The beauty of this book is like a good movie. You can not put it down after start reading even opening pages randomly. Each page is written with such a simple and lucid tone that you keep on reading the book. Curiosity goes on and on with each passing paragraph. Though, the hard cover edition makes it difficult to carry this 383 pages long book. It encompasses Chopra’s frequent interactions with publishing legends like Khushwant Singh, M. F. Husain, Dev Anand, J. N. Dixit, Shobha De, Dilip Kumar, Zail Singh and Satish Gujral. In the second part of the book, Chopra has shared his memoirs with cities like Shimla, the Gaiety Theater, and about historical novels. In one chapter, the publisher talks about Gita Mehta’s Raj and Salman Rushdi’s Midnight Children. He marks the evolution of Indian non-fiction and historical fiction genres with Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan and Rushdi’s Midnight Children’s. In a country like India, where people generally don’t talk about books, authors and long form writing, this book tells you before print stories about famous books like Khushwant Singh’s autobiography. While writing about Khushwant Singh and Dileep Kumar, the author recalls his memorable liaisons with legends. He shares a private incident when 99 year old Khushwant Singh asks Chopra if he had any lover in his life. On getting the negative response, Khushwant goes on asking him to have one by reciting a Persian couplet. It shows what Khushwant was at the age 99; the person who at the age of 99 can take care of his associates as a good old grand pa while being as friendly as classmates. He shares one incident when Bollywood legend Dilip Kumar tenderly asks him to visit him often as his visits gets solace to him. Now after a career of 40 years, Ashok Chopra has written about all such memories that usually don’t come in public space. Indian publishing professional don’t talk about such things public and we don’t get to know what happens before publishing of books.


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