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'Arundhati did not write for money'

Chindu Sreedharan

When the phone rang, Mary Roy heard it almost immediately.

What else could it be at 3 am in the morning? It must be about Arundhati.

It was.

"I was fast asleep. Arundhati just told me she was the Booker choice," the proud mother told Rediff On The NeT in a telephone interview from Kottayam, Kerala. "It was a brief conversation. She had her husband (Pradeep Kishen) with her and was talking from a crowded pressroom."

How, we ask that cliched question, did it feel to hear the news?

"How else but happy?" Mary Roy answered, "And very, very proud! I love her very much. I love her the same -- not more, not less because of it!"

The news, in reality, was not much of a surprise to the winner's mother.

"In the past few weeks, India was being impeded by bookie ratings -- Star News was showing it every day," she said. (Prannoy Roy, the Star Newscaster, incidentally, is Arundhati's first cousin.)

"Frankly," she continued, "I did not take it (the bookie business) seriously. I think of it as a lot of nonsense. They are equating writing with horse racing. I don't like it at all. Arundhati is serious about her book -- she did not write for money."

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