A dentist friend in Calcutta, famous for his painless surgery, once told me he lived in perpetual fear of being accosted at what might have been innocuous cocktail parties by lipsticked women who felt completely free to say, ‘You’re George Traub?! Can you look at this … aaargh?’ (Followed by a baring of gums in the full austere view of Calcutta’s enduring ‘suits’.)
I would like to tell George that one of his colleagues took revenge on his behalf. At a clinical sitting, halfway through inserting several appliances in my gaping mouth, the good doctor said, ‘I’m told you’re in publishing. Who with?’
‘…asla…’ I managed.
‘Would you take a look at my niece’s manuscript?’
That’s the trouble. Everyone has a book ‘inside’ them.
Which is why people in publishing are so shy of admitting to their profession.
Which is why, at those inevitable launches, when people ask me, ‘So, who are you with?’, I always say, ‘ Asla.’
(By an editor at Westland)