Movie Producer BL Gautam Publishes New Book "Mohammed a Mechanic and Mary a Maid"

By Sanjay Sharma Raj

India Film Producer Writer B L GautamMumbai, June 23, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Producer BL Gautam, Director of Mumbai Mantra, the media arm of Mahindra & Mahindra group, former Commercial Director of Zee group and COO of UTV has has published his second book, which is a collection of stories- Mohammed a Mechanic and Mary a Maid. The book is scheduled to be released in December 2012. His first novel is Andy Leelu, which is selling well and has good reviews.


“The content is not at all controversial or blasphemous even if the title suggests so,” says Gautam. But you can’t deny that it will grab some extra and immediate attention. Thereafter it will depend on the steam that Gautam says that he has built up.  The book has 5 longish stories including ‘Easy Savitri,’ which gets its title from a Hindu mythological character Savitri, synonymous to a devout and pious wife. “In my story, Savitri is a woman of easy virtues; open to trade her physical assets for a better life,” says Gautam.

In Mohammed a Mechanic and Mary Maid, Mary was a widow. Her husband, a BMC worker, a drunkard, one Marathi-speaking protestant like her, passed away quietly on an otherwise fine day, while lying in his alcohol-induced sleep. She mourned for few days and everything was normal, faster than normally it is. The credit goes to penury that wouldn’t allow the luxury of lazing around in the pall of grief. That was three years back. Mary worked as a maid before she got married; continued to be one during the short spell of her marital bliss and was a maid still. She changed a few employers on the way. Housemaid is one of those unique professions where more often a servant changes the employer and not the other way. Soon after attaining the widowhood she came to Negis, and sooner she was a part of the household. She was pleasant, smart and pretty good at her work.

...

“Wait, coming!” Mary was louder, stern too. She came out in a gown that was Tara madam’s. She had just taken her bath. She had a soft pink towel tied around her head. It was certainly Tara madam’s.  An overwhelming fragrance enveloped them together. This was also Tara madam’s, Mohammed could make out.

To take a particular seat, she walked around the sofa-set, like she owned it, and made herself cosy. In that claim of ownership, she let her un-caged breasts wallop and hips swing, uninhibitedly. The strutting was not to entice him; Mohammed had a brainwave. It was to clear the doubt if he had in his mind. It was to make an emphatic statement, “Yes Mohammed, I sleep with Negi. The command I exercise upon you is not a whim of my mind. I have a licence to it.”

...

Easy Savitri:  Future was like yards and yards of plain-cloth in her thoughts; new and uncut. It had the untouched feel and the seminal smell of starch. Present was a pair of scissors that mercilessly cuts this cloth into pieces as it comes, and then a sewing machine running over, monotonously, for hours. Present cuts and stitches the future into many shapes and sizes. Present sweats. The smell is peculiar; coital. Past is like wash and wear, again and again for years, and has the smell of everything around you; general.

She is now her past. She lived her future long ago; only if life was a silai center. It’s not, she knows as she has lived it hard screwed.

Those who thought their charm was good to sponsor their lust mostly got themselves in a tight spot. It won’t work with Savitri. Some came out stifled. Others were pressed hard to shell out twenty rupees to calm their horses down.  Pinch was obvious.

Some had Savitri, and some saved their twenty bucks.  All earned a right to denounce, “Savitri is a whore.”

There were others, fond of exclusivity. Jealousy making desire wait is not so uncommon.   Promise of a better future could never beguile Savitri. She was deft enough to face perilous risks from a kissing distance.  She wouldn’t allow anyone to own her. She had seen where this comfort leads to. After having played all their cards, these snobs were also seen fuming. They found a stronger reason to snub, “Savitri is a whore of a woman.”

Let them, but Savitri wouldn’t crack up without her twenty bucks. Twenty rupees was something when Savitri was not even 30. She is now on the shadowy side of sixty.

Her face still radiates. It’s more the glow of fulfilment. Widowhood’s been a severe loss always, everywhere; here it was first a stigma and then a torment continued. Living within the dotted circle of this tragedy, there were still some gritty sufferers who really made their life worth living. The realization that the covered part of body can actually turn the wheel of life comes when everything else is gone. Among men, insightful appreciate this art of living without a husband.  Worldly wise know that not the moral character, but a careful involvement with immorality is what keeps one’s head high. They called it the ‘chest’ that means heart and everything around heart. If one has that one has the vivacity. The majority whined, “It’s brazen shamelessness.”

Invisisble Rendition: an enigmatic story about the invisible sexual life of a young man later discovered with a strange hereditary physical condition- ankylosing spondylitis, in layman’s terms bamboo spine.

Love Story (1973-99) :It reinvents the love story in India of seventies. The theme is inspirational but the undertone is heart-wrenching.

Fool’s Promise : In nutshell, love is nothing but a fool’s promise to himself. One can break a promise made to others but is doomed to fulfil the promise made to oneself.

"The fabric of my stories is essentially human, subtly away from the quandary of religion, barring a few passing allusions and allegorical references", says Gautam.

Born in 1957 in a sleepy village of northern India, BL gautam calls himself as a village urchin who had a handful of dreams amongst his countless possessions of poverty. An otherwise innocuous and undemanding dream, in which he saw himself a writer and the world his reader, stayed, but the reality demanded he plays a reversed role for a while. Reading came without a choice to read what.

The habit of reading anything and everything took its toll. A promising school boy had an erratic run in the college. When it came to career, he had a Hobson’s choice — the noble profession for a failed genius; a school teacher. As dreams turned into nightmares, restiveness grew with every passing day. To break the shackles, he makes some wanton attempts. Success came with a touch of bizarre. He found himself in the uniform of a Customs Officer, to prevent the second oldest crime in the human history; smuggling. Once again there was no choice than to bite the bullet.

From a reluctant Customs Officer, with unexpected turn of events, he became one of the department’s most distinguished intelligence officers. Highest number of seizures in the history of Indian Customs by any single officer was his historical achievement. The most coveted honor for a government servant came his way, finally. And as if a twist was scripted for more drama, he declines the Presidential award to register his protest against a deplorably meek stand of the government.

Consequential disenchantment brought a quit. Unfulfilled dreams were doing their job behind the curtain. Cinema was the next unscheduled destination. He donned a few corporate hats with a veiled Chaplinesque derision – from Commercial Director of Zee group to COO of UTV. The desire was to do something meaningful. Mulishness brought helluva pain and anguish but along came two gems of Indian cinema – ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’ and ‘A Wednesday’.

After having dabbled with Hindi/Urdu poetry for a long, sifts his own life for stories. And thus came Andy Leelu; the first ofmany to come. He is currently employed with Mumbai Mantra Media Limited as Director of Operations.