When a writer is spooked by the publisher
On the book’s list was South City Mall, a shopping complex in Kolkata. On 7 April, Alchemy Publishers, the publisher of the book, received an email from the mall taking objection to its reference in the book. It urged Alchemy to delete its name and all references before the release, failing which ‘appropriate action’ would be taken. The publisher —which didn’t respond to Open’s attempts to contact it— decided to give in. ‘We as publishers would never like to court any controversy, although the step is going to cause us substantial loss,’ was Alchemy’s reply to the mall.
A corporate lawyer by profession, Deepta says that her story was drawn heavily from a string of news reports about accidents and suicides that spelt a toll of over four deaths in the mall. Her research, she claims, revealed that there was a line of cemeteries dating back to Tipu Sultan’s times that the mall had come up on. Even as she stands by her findings, the inclusion of this information might have backfired, she feels.
Man Mohan Bagree, vice- president of South City Mall, admits to having objected to the book’s allegation. While none of the mall’s executives has read the contentious chapter, Bagree is clear on his stand. “In eight years of existence, if three accidents happen,” he says, “we can’t call it haunted.”