Why Jeffrey Archer wants to be India’s transport minister

May 16th, 2009 - 1:05 am ICT by IANS  

Gurgaon, May 15 (IANS) Fit as a man half his age and with a ringing command in his voice, 69-year-old acclaimed author Jeffrey Archer tickled his fans’ funny bone here Friday by saying that he wants to be India’s transport minister and narrated how a kid tried to sell him a pirated version of his own book.
Starting off with his signature tongue-in-cheek English humour, Archer didn’t leave any stone unturned to cast satiric remarks on the capital’s traffic and book piracy, leaving the fans bursting out in guffaws.

“It’ll take a lot of time for me to get used to (India’s) traffic… This is the best place to see people and cars on the road at the same time,” he quipped.

“I want to be the transport minister of India and I’ll make all cycles, rickshaws and two-wheelers run in lane one, all lorries in lane two and the cars in lane three. And I won’t let people just cross the road as they do now,” he added.

Clad in a blue-striped shirt, cream trousers and sports shoes, the king of racy fiction, as he is called, also had his brush with the growing book piracy market here.

“When I was coming here from the airport, a little boy knocked on my car window and asked me ‘Would you like a Jeffrey Archer?’. I said ‘I am Jeffrey Archer’,” he said at an event here before signing copies of his latest book “Paths of Glory” for his fans.

Archer was here as a part of the ‘Landmark Jeffrey Archer Tour’ at the Landmark book and music store in Gurgaon. The tour, spanning five-cities - Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune and Bangalore - commenced May 11 and will end May 19.

His fans just wouldn’t stop clicking him and the former politician had to repeatedly insist, “No more flashes, no more flashes… Please. I lose my concentration and get quite giddy.”

One of the largest selling contemporary authors in India, Archer confessed to being a fan of Indian English author R.K. Narayan.

“I’m a complete devoted hooked on fan of R.K. Narayan. He takes me into that real India,” he averred.

An ardent cricket fan, he rued the fact that India and Pakistan were not playing each other and also ridiculed the concept of Twenty20 cricket.

“It saddens me when cricket between the two countries (India and Pakistan) cannot be played anymore. It was fascinating to watch these two countries play together,” he said.

“T20 is rubbish. Cricket is when V.V.S. Laxman or Wasim Akram hold off the Australians on their own ground,” he added.

He wrapped up by saying: “This Englishman loves coming back again and again (to India).”

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