When a producer writes to you that “your script is relevant and exciting and reads well throughout. Overall the story is excellent and has all those interesting elements to have a cinematic potential. I see this as a story that can turn into something special and I am curious to see what happens in it”, you know the world is no longer what it used to be.

When we were children, we were trained to never, never show excitement when setting out to buy something. Mummy or Aunty or Grandmother or Older Cousin or Neighbour Aunty, used to din into our heads, “Now don’t you go jumping around the shop, saying you like this, you like this. Ohkay?” And we would go into the shop and pretend that everything was horrible, and the shopkeepers too pretended that they did not want to sell anything, anyway. At least in old time Poona, the shopkeepers scowled at you when you walked into their shop, as if to say, “Why the hell are you disturbing me? What do you want? I don’t have it. I don’t want to sell it. Now will you go away please?”

Without this complex drama of not wanting to buy, and not wanting to sell, how ever could you arrive at a reasonable price?

In Bumm-Bumm-Bhole-Land, of course, you get most of your shopping at a mall, where the sales staff is almost always obsequious, and the prices non-negotiable and you almost always come away with a bad bargain. Knowing that I pay through my nose at the mall, I refuse now to bargain with roadside vendors, because I think it is unfair that I should haggle for a few rupees for vegetables or fruits when I don’t haggle over my clothes or bags or shoes.

But sometimes, I miss those old-world brusque shopkeepers, my father being one of them.

However, since negotiating has lost its charm, I am quite pleased with the above-mentioned letter. My last experience with CFSI, when I made ‘Lilkee’ was very sarkari, communication was terse and dry, and not until 4 years after I made the film and the management changed, did I hear one word about my film – where it had been screened, what the response had been, whether they themselves had liked it or not.

I never, ever wanted to make a film for CFSI again, but a little bit of praise for ‘Lilkee’, a little bit of information about the film’s screenings, and it all seemed worth it.

CFSI is also now restoring and digitizing some of their best films. Properly packaged DVDs, with subtitles and language options should soon be available at Crossword. ‘Lilkee’ is amongst these films.

Having grown up in times when children were never praised for the fear that they would get spoiled or the fates would zap them with an evil eye, I don’t need much applause. But a little something is welcome.