ALAS, IT WAS ONLY A DREAM…CONCLUDING PART 4. ACCEPTANCE SPEECH “Your Highness, Honorable members of the Nobel Committee, distinguished guests and dear ILians! First of all, I thank God Almighty for everything. I also thank my parents who allowed me to disfigure the living room walls and encouraged me at every step. I also thank my wife, who is sitting back on the benches avoiding the limelight, probably drenched in tears. She has been my best and the worst critic in whatever I did. She did everything possible to kill the writing bug inside me which spread its wings after retirement in 1963 but all the same, kept the regular supply of coffee/tea to my writing table during those long nights. “I thank the individuals and organizations who sent their nomination proposals to the Academy and the members of the Nobel Committee for finalizing the Prize in my favor. I very sincerely thank the Founders of IL, a social networking site for Indian ladies in particular and for Indian men as an exception. But for this site, I would never have tasted the flavor of getting published. The site offers the opportunity to get published automatically without cuts. There are no return or rejection slips as long as the entries adhere to rules. It provides a ready audience worldwide. Post-retirement blues can be hard and tormenting if one does not have some hobbies like reading, writing or gardening, etc. Thankfully I love to read and write. Scribbling another piece for IL is not time pass but a creative satisfaction. For this reason, I call this site ‘WRITERS' PARADISE” My special thanks to all ILians for their encouraging and critical comments. A few words about the making of “Mountain of Hills”. After retirement reading and writing keeps me busy. My tiny study table at one point of time got filled with ‘returned with thanks' manuscripts. First, my wife made a small manageable pile for the Raddiwala (Scrap dealer) but upon seeing my face started piling them in heaps which looked like small hills. With time these heaps started touching the room ceiling looking like a mountain. Since there was nothing else to do with this waste paper I thought of arranging them in small, big and bigger hills of heaps which from a distance looked like a hillock. That is how it was called ‘Mountain of Hills” of rejected stories. Last but not least I would fail in my duty if I do not thank Ms. Shila, my literary agent. She helped me in interweaving these stories in such a way that it came out as one big story called a novel. Adventurous as she always has been, she found the publisher and got the copyrights in place and now here I am. ThankQ.” There is huge applause. 5. POST AWARD SCENARIO TV channels are running clips of the award ceremony. My wife has been interviewed by all the channels. TV Vans have surrounded our housing complex. Some enthusiastic and investigative reporters have covered my teachers, school mates, and friends. All of them are claiming how closely they know me and how sure they were of my making it to the top one day. My telephone line is jammed. My cell phone is constantly ringing. I hear that my name has been approved for the Jnanpith Award. There are rumors that I may be honored with ‘Padma Bhusan’ on 26th January 2021. Delhi Government has already announced a cash prize of five lakhs Rupees. Other States are falling over each other to own me because during my working life I have been a resident in almost all States in India, though for a very short duration at times. Corporates have approached Ms. Shila with fat proposals in return of my endorsing their products. Insurance Companies want to offer lifetime full medical coverage in return for a few lines and pose for them. Till yesterday I was nobody. Strange that we need foreign recognition, to be spotted in our own country! Some zealous souls have tried to feed some negative aspects of my life to the print and electronic media. Some have even linked me romantically with Shila. Some say all my writings are the by-product of post-drinking delirium. Some have even charged me for plagiarism. Oh my God. Success could be so frightening!