Where has the time gone? In 6 days, “Sex & Samosas” will mark its one year anniversary since its launch.
The last 349 + days have been a great adventure!
The majority of this journey has been like nothing I could have dreamed of.
After almost one year on Amazon, watching my book rank sometimes as low as 1,000,000 plus and rocket up to #27 and then back down again, I find myself asking the same question over and over again: What is the true definition of success?
Is it the endorsements from lucrative companies hoping to cash in on my book sales? You know, like Porsche calling me up and saying, “Jasmine, we’d like you to represent our car. You’re a sexy, fast ride and so is our vehicle.” Of course I’ll take offence at first, but then decide that since there is a scene in my book where the car is mentioned, so it only makes sense for me to lend my name to it. That, and I think the license plate: “SmosaLvr” would look cool on the back. I could always sell the car to Shaun Majumnder if I get tired of it. I’m sure he’d enjoy it just as much.
Or maybe it was the offer from “Jazz” Airlines asking me if I would lend my toothy grin to the side of their airplanes while they repaint the plane’s tail to look like a giant samosa. (It kind of does already).
Okay, they never called and I was just looking for a free vacation with that last one, but you get the idea. These kinds of things wouldn’t be how I measure my success.
So if it’s not in the ever-fluctuating roller-coaster ride of Amazon numbers or fake celebrity endorsements I dream up when I should be writing the second book (insert sheepish grin here), is it in the book sales themselves?
Well, since you brought it up, I am proud to announce that “Sex & Samosas” has surpassed the sale of its 1,000 copy some time ago. Yay!!! Did you hear the cork pop? Because I haven’t stopped celebrating since that day.
No, success for me isn’t in those numbers either.
It’s in the life lessons I’ve learned during the process it took me to get to this point of pride. And when I think about the journey itself and the knowledge I have gained, I am reminded of a fable that I have always held dear to me which has kept me going throughout this year. For me, it illuminates the concept of sharing, believing in yourself and true success (depending on how you end the story).
I was about 9 years old when I read it for the first time. When I look back and picture this moment of epiphany, I have one eyebrow, no forehead to speak of and a moustache that most teenage boys would envy. Let’s hope for the movie version I discover the joy of wax earlier.
Anyway, the tale is from Aesop’s Fables.
Allow me to paraphrase…with great liberties The Hen and the Stupid Animal Bastards on the Farm (I did say I was going to take liberties)….
One day a little brown Hen (that’s brown as in feather colour, not South Asian descent chicken), finds a grain of wheat. She’s so happy and excited that she takes this grain of wheat to the other animals on the farm and shows it to them.
“Who will help me plant this grain of wheat?” she asks.
“Not me,” says the Cow rudely and continues to chew her cud.
“Not me” snorts the Pig and then rolls around in a pile of its own slop.
“Not me” says the Horse who was busy trying to pick up a mare on the other side of the fence. (Just saying, you can make any story sexual if you want to)…but I digress…
So the little Hen takes her grain of wheat and goes out into the field and plants it in the blazing hot sun all by herself.
She waters it and tends to it and in no time, the grain has become a tall stalk of wheat ready to be shucked (or whatever you call it when the farmer cuts the wheat. I like the word shucked for obvious poetic reasons).
“Who will help me shuck this tall stalk of wheat?” the Hen asks.
“Not me,” the Cow says looking a little madder than usual.
“Not me” snorts the Pig bitterly whose wife had just ran weeeeee weeeeee weeeeeeeaway with another little piggy going to market.
“Go shuck yourself,” says the Horse who has been known to be quite rude sometimes.
So the little Hen decides to chop down the wheat herself.
When it comes time to grind the wheat into flour, well, you can imagine what reactions she gets from the farm animals. (I’m cutting to the chase, I swear).
She grinds the wheat into flour and prepares a dough which she lovingly kneads and then pops the sticky mess into the oven to bake, careful not to get her little Hen hands caught in the hot oven, for Hens don’t belong in ovens, do they? (Sorry, I am a vegetarian after all, I couldn’t resist).
The smell of the freshly baked bread wafts over the farm, its delicious mouth-watering scent bringing the Cow, the Pig and the Horse to the window of the kitchen where little Hen is taking out the fresh, hot loaf.
She sees the trio of animals, drool dripping from their mouths and asks, “And who will help me eat this lovely loaf of bread?” to which the Cow responds, “I will!” “I most certainly will!” the big fat Pig exclaims and “Count me in, Baby!” the saucy Horse responds.
“Oh, I see,” says the little Hen. “But where were you when I needed help planting the grain of wheat? And wasn’t it all of you that told me to go “shuck myself” when I asked who would help me take down the stalk of wheat? And where oh where were you when I wanted someone to assist me in making the flour?”
Okay, admittedly I am making the Hen out to be a little more bitter than Aesop did in his fable but you get the point.
I can’t recall how the story ends to tell you the truth.
I honestly think I blocked it out.
I don’t know if the Hen is morally upright and shares the bread, or if she tells them to go down to their local bakery and fork out the dough (ha ha) for a loaf themselves and then eats the entire thing with her family while the hungry farm animals look on.
For me, this last year, the Cow, the Pig and the Horse have represented all the agents and publishers who told me that my novel would never sell and that there was no place for it in Canadian literature.
But the reviews and letters in praise of my book tell a very different story.
And that’s where I find my success.
I worked hard (hee hee, I said hard) to complete this novel and get it ready for print when plenty of nay-sayers didn’t believe in it.
But I did.
So success for me comes in the satisfaction of following through on my dream and believing in what I could do and in the message between the pages.
But the greatest lesson learned here is not what the Hen would do with the loaf of bread, but why she crossed the road in the first place.
Clearly, it was to get her own copy of “Sex & Samosas”.