This post is about Kavya Vishwanathan and her book “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life”. Firstly we have chosen this topic because by her very name, we’d say, she is an Iyer. This means that it is of concern to all of us. Some of you may ask how she can be an Iyer when her last name is Vishwanathan. So before you may ask, let us reveal this secret out to you. South Indians (especially the ones from tamilnadu) don’t have surnames. Iyer is a “surname by default”. (If you are surprised, read it again if you wish to).
They generally use their father’s / husband’s name in place of surname. But the word ‘Iyer’ plays an important role when one’s father’s / husband’s name is as long as “Vilayannur Subramaniam Varadarajan Krishnamoorthy Doraiswamy”. In such a situation their full name spills out of the length of one page (both portrait and landscape). At this point they can adopt, at their own free will, the surname Iyer. They can also continue with the name that may spill out of the length of one page. The choice is with them. You see we believe in true democracy.
Similarly, we are very sure that this Kavya lady is an Iyer too. She took the smart way out and decided to drop the postal address part (that’s funny) from her fathers name and decided to keep just Vishwanathan. Which again means that she is an Iyer… just that the Iyer is silent (ha…that was a good one).
For the most of the people who know about her you can stay on this page. The others who need a brush-up on the background of this post please visit the FIR site where it all started (FIR = First Iyer Report… though a minority section of the people would like to call it as First Incident Report). Now that we are on an even keel, let’s proceed further with the post.
Firstly she admitted borrowing passages from the books of Megan McCafferty called “Sloppy Firsts” & “Second Beginnings”. Then she felt sorry for doing so but still maintaining that it was just “co-incidence” (How so Anu-Malikish). But any amount of excuses of “co-incidences” did not go well with the publishers of Megan McCafferty’s books. And after all that drama, the publishers of Kavya’s books have called back all the copies that are with distributors and retail and wholesale outlets. The fate of the book is sealed and shelved. That’s it!!! Though I don’t know what is going to happen to the contract signed between her and her publisher. That part of the drama is yet to happen.
There are a couple of things that were so queer about this case. Let us list them down.
- We still don’t know what the hell is a ‘sophomore’ (she is fondly called as a Harvard Sophomore)? We would like to believe that ‘sophomore’ is some strange flavoured buttermilk (buttermilk is called ‘more’ in Tamil and Malayalam). And we hope it definitely is that way because being an Iyer she surely must be loving buttermilk.
- If she had to ‘Ctrl+C’ from some book and ‘Ctrl+V’ them onto her own book, why didn’t she think of publishing a book in Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi or even Swahili for that matter? Why would she want to make it evident that she has done what people like to fondly term as plagiarism (We thought this was something to do with rats and the disease that they spread).
- Why couldn’t she write in the preface that she was “inspired” by Megan McCafferty’s “Sloppy Firsts” & “Second Beginnings”? Doesn’t she know the power of the word “inspired”. Bhappi Da and Anu Malik have been surviving on that one word for more than two decades.
- She made sure that her name was all auspicious as per numerology (remember the ‘K’ word) but why couldn’t she find a title for her book that started with a ‘K’ (like Kyunki Opal Mehta Bhi Kabhi Virgin Thi) which would have ensured that she would have never got caught. All these ABCI’s (American Born Confused Iyer’s)… they don’t believe in anything. Hmpf…
Other than the above following queer issues, we have a couple of nice things to say to her… So here's the twist…
- Firstly, thanks for not using the “default” surname. In any case we are already doing enough disservice to this Iyer community. They couldn’t have taken more than what is happening to them currently. Vishwanathan for a surname sounds perfect.
- Secondly, KV, if you are reading this. We both are doing enough disservice for this Iyer community. We are both alike. Why don’t we get married or something? Provided you get to keep your $500,000 (that’s what she was paid for a 2 book contract) and you publish your suers… er er er… sorry… sue your publishers for ‘maanhaani ka daava’ (we really really don’t know the English counterpart of this) for another $10 Million.
- Lastly, if you are bored and you have to write something. Please use Blogs. Like this wonderful blog (okay we accept… it’s an overstatement) that you are currently reading. Google ad-sense won’t pay you anywhere close to $500,000. But why do you need so much pocket money when you are studying. You will get enough money to buy yourself some candy, burger, pizza etc. “Padhai pe dhyaan do… nahi to eeskool se nikaal denge… Samjhe”
“Chalo, bahut ho gaya… Let the lady study…” is what her father is repeating to everyone who tries to trouble her. Let’s leave the young lady alone. Secondarily because she needs some respite from everything that’s going around her. And primarily because she is an Iyer. :=)
PS: Before you decide to hit the ‘x’ window on the top right, please go through Sepiamutiny’s article where parts of Kavya’s book are compared to the famous book “Holy Blood Holy Grail” (Bird: This is an article of research for you). We don’t know how true it is but it sure is amazing. And it sure is much better than this post… Guaranteed!!!