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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

I met Dan Brown and... ASDFGHJKL

Well, when I registered for the Penguin Lecture, and received my passes with much toil, I realized that when it comes to the following for Dan Brown, I have a lot of competition. But, what I failed to imagine was that there would be serpentine queues outside the venue, and people must have queued hours before the seating was to begin. Not to mention, the length of the queues was such that they went all the way to the dark shadows cast by the trees beyond the Asian Games Village complex. So many registrations had been cancelled, I should have surmised that the turnout would be overwhelming. Because when Dan Brown entered and was welcomed with a deafening applause, he seemed overwhelmed with surprised elation over the cheers and the standing ovation, perhaps, he was flattered by the magnitude of stardom his works have acquired for readers in India.

Brown who told the enthusiastic audience, some 1000-odd readers of all ages, that he visited India first when he was 19, and felt like he had come home.
I am still in trance of having seen the author and having heard him live, just a few hours before, so I will just highlight the best parts of those 70 minutes spent at Siri Fort auditorium. The lecture was titles 'Codes, Science and religion'

1. His stardom surpassed that of Amitabh Bachhan, a fact that the moderator for the event, Rajdeep Sardesai, himself a Penguin Author, stated matter-of-factly. Yet, he arrived well in time, and it was sharp 7 when he began. So much punctuality, it just had my friend in tears. With girls swooning over him as he arrived at the venue, one could have taken him for an actor. His words: Wow. Thank you. what a nice welcome. Terrific welcome. I am thrilled to be here.

2. His hilarity: Personally, I thought he would be a serious personality, but then I guess, Brown never ceases to surprise his fans. Joking about how the battle between science and religion is the definiton of his life: with a mother who was a church organist and a father who was a mathematics teacher. And the fact that sunday church service were as much a part of his childhood as were his fathers calculation over the best pizza deal at the pizza parlor.

3. He brought the number plates of his parents' cars that reflect their personalities, and his first book, that had a print run of one copy and was called ‘The Giraffe, The Pig and the Pants on fire' all the way across the ocean.

4. He even made fun of the fact that people find it upsetting when he asks the most obvious questions about God, telling the intrigued audience how he is assumed to be wreaking vengeance on God for not answering some childhood prayers. He expressed his confusion over reconciling the difference between science and religion.

5. All religions teach us the same thing: Kindness is better than cruelty, Creation is better than destruction and
Love is better than Hate

6. He was inspired by Hardy Boys to write.

7. He implores us to read the scriptures as metaphors, fables and myths so that we can draw our own lessons.

8. Pen is mightier than the sword. I believe it is. Because the thing about pen is that one pen can reach millions and millions of people. But with a sword, you have to work pretty hard to reach a million people.

Did I tell you he had to be encircled by bouncers from preventing him being attacked by crazy fans?

Check out why I love Angels and Demons here.

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Kritika's bookshelf: read

Angels & Demons
The Story of My Life
The Hunger Games
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
A Tale of Two Cities
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
Sense and Sensibility
A Christmas Carol
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Time Machine
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The Da Vinci Code

Kritika Narula's favorite books »


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