Lions and tigers and bears...

Steve Hamm

When I was in India last month (for a month), I did a bunch of book publicity appearances in addition to a bunch of reporting for BusinessWeek. Most of these appearances involved readings, and, also, interviews with the Indian media--which has shown a lot of interest in the book. I have to tell you about one funny incident: At one of the readings, in a bookstore, a young female reporter for a daily newspaper came late, after the event was over. Also, her editors had not given her any info about the book. She approached me and started asking me questions. They very very broad and not on the topic, like: What do you think of India? Then she asked a question that totally threw me: What do you think of Jim Corbett?

My answer: Who's Jim Corbett?

Turns out, Jim Corbett was the most famous tiger hunter in India. This reporter thought my book was actually about tigers! I explained patiently that my tiger was a metaphor.

Here's what Wikipedia says about Corbett, in part:

Between 1907 and 1938, Corbett tracked and put down at least a dozen man-eaters. It is estimated that the combined total of men, women and children these twelve animals had killed was in excess of 1,500. His very first success, the Champawat Tiger in Champawat, alone was responsible for 436 documented deaths. He also shot the Panar Leopard, which allegedly killed 400 after being injured by a poacher and thus being rendered unable to hunt its normal prey. Other notable man-eaters were the Talla-Des man-eater, the Mohan man-eater, the Thak man-eater and the Chowgarh tigers.

If only my writing career was so interesting!