It had long been my dream to provide to my readers a book. Something light and compact, which they can carry with them on their visit to the Residency.
Initially, I published an e-book for Kindle. It was nice but I was not happy with the result. The pictures did not work and the text was not easy to read. Besides, how many people will walk around the Residency with a Kindle? Possibly some, but after stumbling along through the bushes and possibly dropping the erstwhile machine it would be more of hinderance than a help.
So a book it had to be.
With the help of my husband,Ronojoy Chatterji, who did all the editing, the formatting and ultimately provided a map of the Residency drawn by himself for which I am eternally grateful, the book was published on Amazon.co.uk as A Guide to the Lucknow Residency.
The book is divided not into chapters per se, but into posts, with each post having a separate description and where possible, a photograph. As many of you know, some posts have been obliterated. In this case, I chose pictures fitting to the place, so for Gubbins, there is what I presume is the tree that earned its salt, for Grants’ Bastion there is a marker.. the idea is that visitors can orientate themselves on something in the general area and then read the description.
The descriptions are set up in the same way as on this blog – what the post looked like before it was smashed to bits and anecdotes from those of the besieged who wrote of their experiences. It was unfortunately not possible for me to add all the information found on this blog into the book. That would have made it less of a guide and more of a tome, which, my dear readers, would have been an ordeal to carry about.
The book is 146 pages long and contains as much information as is relevant to a guidebook of the grounds. There is no guide to the museum which I feel is rather self-explanatory. Perhaps in a different version and after another visit, I could add such a description. Nor is there a detailed chapter on the graves. Again, this has to do with space. As much as I would have liked to have had an entire chapter devoted to just the gravestones, I felt it was not appropriate for this book. Again, this may be a future project, for now, wish you happy travels and should you find yourselves in Lucknow, standing by the Bailey Guard Gate, I hope my humble offering will enrich your visit to the Lucknow Residency.
Of course, everyone by now would have noticed the name. This was my name before I married, so, my fair reader, I am not scarping anyone else’s work, the name on the cover was once mine. In a future edition, should I be so tempted to release one, I may change the name.
The question arises, time and again, would I bring out a book again utilising this form of publishing? The answer is, well, no. This little book of mine was a labour of love and joy – I never had high hopes for it becoming a bestseller, or even selling at all! It is a niche subject for a niche audience – the few copies a year which sell prove as much. Unfortunately, the price on the cover hardly reflects what the author actually earns and it is a great source of embarrassment to me that I could not price it lower. It is certainly not a way to earn living – if I had been wiser at the time, I might have resisted the temptation to publish at all, and simply sold off nice-looking .pdfs instead. I am truly grateful to anyone who has bought my little work and I hope you find as much pleasure in reading it as I have had writing it.
If this remains my only contribution to the written world at large, so be it.