Sunday, May 08, 2011

How the Modern School man evolved to its present form

Press releases are usually dull, unreadable, Inbox-cluttering things, but every now and again I get one that is so magnificent in its terribleness that it makes me want to pirouette around the room, clutching a cushion to my chest, singing "Quando Quando Quando". Consider merely the following mail subject:

"Book Launch: By Rohan Shroff, 17 Old Boy, Modern School: The Origin of Species"
 
The interest is piqued immediately. Is "17 Old Boy, Modern School" an address ("Old Boy" being the name of the building where the embalmed bodies of this school's alumni are stored) or were they perhaps trying to say "17-year-old boy"? Also, the title of that book - surely he isn't passing off a 150-year-old classic as his own?

These doubts are cleared when one reaches the main body of the release and learns that the book's title isn't actually "The Origin of Species" (the PR guys got confused, and would you blame them?) - it's the much more elegant "The Species of Origin?". That's right, with a question mark at the end.
 
Now I quote:
A YOUNG MIND TRIES TO GRASP THE WORKINGS OF THE UNIVERSE

Challenging few of the aspects of Darwin’s theory, a book named “The Species of Origin?” is written in a very simple language by Rohan Shroff.Rohan Shroff, a student of Modern School, Barakhambha Road, has just given his +2 exams.

The focus of the book is on the creation of the universe and how the modern man evolved to its present form. The author accepts some of the views of the Darwin’s theory called the “The origin of species”, however, refutes some other views and hence has named his own book as “The species of origin” stating that some extraterrestrial species is responsible for the origin of species on the earth. Hence, the readers are requested to not hesitate from questioning the current beliefs or accepting the newly proposed one.

This book was inspired by the movie and book by Brandon Levon named ‘Old World Secrets the Omega Project Codes’.

This will be followed by the launch of Book by Dr.Geeta Shroff titled as "Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Cases Descriptive Statistics”.
I have no intention of reading young Rohan's book (or the embryonic stem cell one, scintillating though that title is) but based on the synopsis I suspect what he's trying to tell us is that Charles Darwin was planted here by extraterrestrials. No doubt his book is full of excellent evidence for this thesis, carefully accumulated over 12 years of tiffin breaks and profound thought.

35 comments:

  1. Jai, I am curious to know more about the book. I need some details. Could you please help?

    ReplyDelete
  2. rantings: sorry, you're on your own this once! Google it, maybe something will show up.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hahaha! This was SO funny!

    ReplyDelete
  4. http://kumudbooks.com/the-species-of-origin-p-227.html

    It's worth Rs 1000.

    Let me guess, vanity book sponsored by this mother whose book launches before. A nice post on Mother's Day.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "It's worth Rs 1000."

    Anon: oh, I highly doubt that. However, I do note that it's priced at Rs 1000.

    And I think that's a very good guess!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Rohan Shroff will win the Nobel Prize and make you eat your words. Just you wait and watch.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rohan Shroff will win the Nobel Prize and make you eat your words.

    aandthirtyeights: I'm trembling in nervous anticipation. Words have such an unpleasant cardboardy taste, and they cause serious indigestion if swallowed quickly. Hopefully the Nobel won't happen until he's at least 25.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The book urges urges the reader to keep an open mind; and "think unalike." Marvellous. Am going to practise thinking unalike for the whole day. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Um, your words are on cyberspace (unless you take printouts of your blog posts for posterity). So, I guess they'll taste electronic.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Am going to practise thinking unalike for the whole day.

    Anita: you can start by wondering how it is that you never commissioned anything by this bright lad. But it's never too late - go ahead, offer him a six-figure advance!

    aandthirtyeights: if I have to eat the words, I will print them out first. On cardboard. Think unalike!

    ReplyDelete
  11. "But it's never too late - go ahead, offer him a six-figure advance!"

    Especially as he's just starting. He can only get better. What will he evolve into?

    ReplyDelete
  12. "What will he evolve into?"

    dustedoff: what a terrifying question!

    At this point I should admit to feeling mildly guilty about mocking a kid thus (I probably did a few things that were half as silly when I was that age), but if you're going to vanity-publish + price this sort of book at Rs 1000 + hire PR people to send out terribly written, error-strewn releases to lit-journos - well, it's open season.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I bet he wrote the press release himself (or the fond parent did). And don't feel guilty, this sort of thing is character-building stuff for 17 old boys and he probably dismisses you (and us) as old fuddy duddies anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  14. he probably dismisses you (and us) as old fuddy duddies anyway.

    Yes, but imagine how terrible he'll feel 20 years hence when we've all passed on and he realises we were right after all.

    "17 old boys" reminds me of the film title "Eight legged freaks", where they forgot to hyphenate the "Eight-legged" and ended up totally changing the meaning.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I also regret now that I put up this post before asking them for a review copy. If the book is written in the same simple language of the press release, it should be worth reading.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Jai, all I have to say is-have a heart! Come on, cut him some slack, now. For all you know he might go on to become an excellent writer and then, this would be one of those "mistakes" that people often make at the start of their career. Haven't you been devilishly critical about this one?

    ReplyDelete
  17. for all you know he might go on to become an excellent writer and then, this would be one of those "mistakes" that people often make at the start of their career

    Rantings: of course. But as I've mentioned in one of the comments above, if the "mistake" includes ostentatiously sending terrible press releases out for public consumption, it's open season. I try to avoid being "devilishly critical" for the sake of it, but I'm certainly not so saintly as to pass up the chance for a lighthearted post.

    Besides, as Shrabonti points out, he'll get over it, the same way most of us get over pimples at that age.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a coincidence,yesterday I saw "Inherit The Wind" a court drama which a lawyer tried to use Darwin's Origin of Species over a religious small town which was obsessed with Bible n old age religion.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Blogdie: hope you saw the original Spencer Tracy-Fredric March version? I've written about it here.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Jai: Rohan should have been smart enough to take a leaf out of Chetan Bhagat's style and get the book published at Rs 95,will help in selling, I assume..

    ReplyDelete
  21. E Pradeep: actually there are hundreds of so-terrible-they-are-hilarious novels being published by low-investment, no-editing vanity publishers like Srishti, most of which make Chetan look like Dostoevsky. (Have written about this here and here.) Those are priced around Rs 95 too. I don't know whether the Rs 1000 tag on this one is an attempt to make it look like a respectable science book or something such.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Jai: Incidentally, the price was one of the reasons why I gave up reading Malayalam translations and started reading works in the original despite my difficulty in reading a language without enough expertise in it (even though it isg my mother tongue)but the experience has been refreshingly wonderful.

    Any pieces of yours where you have written on translations vs vernacular language works?

    ReplyDelete
  23. slack? stupid fucks who halfassedly regurgitate some ridiculous conspiracy theory bosh they somehow stumbled upon on the internet and think they're being smart deserve slack? fucking imbeciles.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow. I couldn't believe it was a real book, so I googled. Still don't quite believe it.

    But I agree with Anon - must be his mum who's behind it all. I feel sorry for the poor kid.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I guess the Rs. 1000 price is a smart move if the mom knew what she was doing. If a book is that badly written, by a first time author, the subject of which sounds ludicrous. It would take a lot of guts for anyone to waste Rs. 1000 on that. Thereby prevent common society (friend circle) from posting it around :D

    ReplyDelete
  26. It's really not fair. Have any of you ever written a book at 17? Or a book at all? I highly doubt it. So just cut him some slack.

    ReplyDelete
  27. an neutron walks into a bar, the bar tender says "no charge for you". got that? i doubt it. since you were too busy trying to fuck yourself while i wrote that book. what i wrote you cant even comprehend you fuckin bitch. so run along and write insignificant lil blogs about stuff you can never do. comprende?

    ps- stick to the fashion blogs

    ReplyDelete
  28. Rohan: in case the comment above really is from you, let me just say again how much I enjoyed your book. I thought Raskolnikov's interior monologues were especially insightful windows into the human condition. In the passage where he chases Charles Darwin around the gulag with an axe, you adeptly (if improbably) mix the many tropes of horror, suspense and evolutionary biology. Also, the tragedy of Miss Havisham and her embalmed chimpanzee will haunt my soul forever. Well done!

    I await with keen enthusiasm your next book about how Beowulf, James Joyce and Jughead Jones were really the same person.

    ReplyDelete
  29. well done, i can clearly see you're fluent in sarcasm, happy?
    My next book however, is going to about an ugly, middle aged retard who sits at home all day writing BLOGS cause he cant do anything else with his sad pointless little life and finally one day gets his ass kicked by a famous author. I can clearly see that you lack the intelligence, creativity, potential and looks to do something else. Anyway, coming back to my book, i can actually understand why you dint get it. First, youre not smart enough. Second, it talks about something that actually fucks with the primeval archetypes preset in every human being, i doubt it in your case cause youre clearly a monkey.i will actually advice you to take breather and relax man, the world around you isnt that bad, its just you. So you know what you should learn to make fun of first, yourself.Theres alottt of stuff to talk about there.You can always start with your face, i"ll let you figure the rest out by yourself.So when/if you ever get over the spelling mistakes, grammatical errors etc (cause im not a writer) and actually UNDERSTAND the book, you"ll have a different say. Anyway, you dont like the book, who cares?
    its your loss anyway, so dis all you want, youre still going to be a twat.
    So when youre home (im pretty sure you live alone, right?) and youre about to start writing your BLOG (lol) just make sure that you know everything there is to about a topic cause youre clearly bamboozled right here with this one. im done for now so fuck you, and fuck off.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Is it possible to improve security settings on this site so vanity-published scum are not allowed to post? The worst thing the Internet ever did was give these aspiring Chetan Bhagats a platform.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anon: the comments here are moderated, but surely you don't think I'll censor comments like the one just above yours? They provide an even keener insight into the minds of the Vanity Published than their actual books do. (All those embryonic stem-cell experiments must really have hurt!)

    ReplyDelete
  32. its not even funny just how big idiots you guys are.Anonymous, firstly is it too hard to type in your name? secondly, vanity published or not,what difference does it make? a book is a book. anyway, im done wasting my time here, i said what i had to. until nextime.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I personally really enjoyed the book. And he's just 17, so honestly get a life, all of you.

    ReplyDelete
  34. SO, he blogs about a book he hasn't ever read. And criticizes it too. He hates the novel. Based on the fact that some 17 year old he despises out of sheer boredom, wrote it.
    Wow Mr. Jai, you are real mature. No hypocrisy at all.
    Also I meant to ask, how many books have you authored? And are they 'worth' even 95 bucks?
    Dying for you to satiate my curiosity here and to read all your novels. :D
    XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hahahaah.. carefully accumulated over 12 years of tiffin breaks and profound thought

    ReplyDelete