October 9, 2012 | 1 Comment | Betsy Woodman
A minor character in Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes is Mr. Abinath, the town’s dispensing chemist. He plays a bigger role in book two, Love Potion Number 10 (scheduled to come out in May, 2013.) His apothecary is crammed full of medicines and cosmetics, including a line of vitamins he is developing. He wants to go beyond the commonly known vitamins (A, B, C, D, etc.) and formulate a concoction for every letter of the alphabet.
I got the idea of an alphabet of vitamins from Pratap Singh Tamli, the head bearer (major domo) of our household in Delhi, who used to tell us kids, “Babas, you must eat this food, it is full of vitamins from A to Zed!” I still congratulate myself when I cook spinach or quinoa or some other healthy stuff. I figure it just has to be full of vitamins from A to Zed.
But back to Abinath. He makes a nice almond hand cream, which Jana buys regularly. He keeps up with the fashionable ailments. You know how it is: one year migraine is in, the next year, foot trouble. His philosophy of medicine is that a tonic should make you feel better just by thinking about taking it. It’s a matter of setting expectations, he says.
Mr. Ganguly, Jana’s parrot, doesn’t usually take any medication, at least not yet. (Maybe he’ll need something in book three.) But, when my editor Joanna Levine at Henry Holt and Company sent me the page proofs for book two, she pictured him getting into the medicine cabinet.
Oh boy, that’s one love-struck bird.