Friday, March 11, 2016

Greetings from India*

I get wonderful emails every day from all sorts of interesting people. Today I learned that I am the recipient of the Matthew Arnold Award for "sweetness and light in creative writing." The email that announced this award was easily the most wonderful I've ever received, and I thought in this otherwise bleak old world, that you would find it amusing, uplifting and maybe even life-altering.

Here it is:

a house of public relations
[Regd. under the Dept. of Hr. Edn., Govt. of India]

106, Santoshi Vihar, Meherpalli, Canal Road, Laxmisagar, P.O. - Budheswari,
Bhubaneswar - 751 006, Orissa, India

Dear Poet / Writer,

Greetings! Hope this letter finds you in a cheerful mood !

As well known to the intellectual world The Home of Letters (India) or
HOLI is engaged in literary, publishing and socio-cultural activities for
the cultural uplift of man. It acts like a platform to exchange sublime
ideas between the poets, writers, scholars and the intellectuals of the
world through its various publications, books, anthologies etc. It is a
House which organises small seminars from time to time (depending upon
finance) where poets, writers, scholars and the intellectuals discuss
various educational, literary and socio-cultural topics. It also awards
individuals for their high level achievement in personal or professional
life / for outstanding accomplishments in the literary, intellectual or
academic realm / for outstanding contribution to the fields of art, culture,
education and society / for their commendable contribution in promoting
world peace and universal brotherhood with humanitarian ideologies. Since
1997 HOLI has been playing a very significant role in the above fields.

You will be pleased to know that we
would like to confer upon you “MATTHEW ARNOLD AWARD" for sweetness and
light in creative writing.

The multi-colour certificate (20 X 14 inches in size) is beautifully
laminated on
WOOD and photo-framed (for
hanging on wall / for
placing on table or shelf), which will be sent to you by Regd. Airmail.
name will be published in one of our publications in future.

If you are interested to receive this WOOD-LAMINATED citation you may
send USD 150 (as
administrative, processing, packing, postal charges etc.).

*Mode of* Payment : Bank Wire
Transfer (please ask for our SWIFT bank details)

[[Pl note that on my Facebook timeline there is a photo album: THE
HOME OF LETTERS (INDIA) in which we have published 2 lists (pl. click
on the 8th and 10th photos) of persons on whom HOLI conferred Awards
till date. More such lists will be published soon]]

If this letter hurts your sentiment in any way, please just ignore it.
Frankly speaking, the aim of this scheme is to encourage writers / scholars
/ intellectuals to contribute more in the above mentioned fields and to help
them prosper in their own personal career.

As we publish books you may also send mss. for publication in book form. If
interested, pl. ask for details.

Best wishes for your creative / academic / professional life !

Stay well ! Thank you !

Faithfully yours,

Dr. Mandal Bijoy Beg

I'm off to wire in my money and receive my laminated award. Reader, tell me what you're doing today.

*Note to New Readers. This is a Public Service Announcement (as my friend Rebecca says). I actually understand this to be a wild and crazy spam, but I give it an A for effort.


  1. Your kidding, right? "If this letter hurts your sentiment in any way, please just ignore it." I'm sorry. This is just very odd. Are your sentiments hurt? Mine are merely confused.

    1. But it's WOOD LAMINATED. One can understand the appeal.

  2. Yes, definitely one of the more creative cons I've seen. Sweetness and light!

  3. I hope this comment finds you in a cheerful mood !

    Your writing is many glorious things but I would not describe it as "sweetness and
    light," lol.

    1. And I love that it's The Matthew Arnold Award. He is not of sweetness and light either!

  4. Best phishing effort *ever*.

  5. OMG. You have the most fascinating life. And yes. I have a certificate for that. It is to be joyfully picked up in person and baptized in a glass of gin.

  6. I am enjoying the day with my sister who is visiting from Wisconsin. You should definitely wire in your money quickly for this as it perfectly captures your type of writing and is quite reasonable.

  7. It sounded so good until it didn't.

  8. That is hysterical! I've looked him up on Google and his poetry is...well...enough said.
    But this is the best of well intended Indian scams I've ever seen and yes, do get your laminated hardwood sign. (there is a lot of overhead in producing them, you know)

    Here's a tidbit of side adventure. I just watched the film "AMAL" on Netflix. This is the real best of India. I wrote to the actor (I've never done anything like this before - hand to my heart)to compliment him on his performance in his role as Amal via Facebook...and he wrote back, albeit the kind of detached remark you would send to anyone in the long line of anonymous "fan's) Fun, fun, fun. Go watch the movie if you are so inclined, it doesn't disappoint and I can say with experience, that this is India. Well, this and Dr. Mandal Bijoy Beg...notice the last name.

    1. PS: The equivalent amount of $150 is about 10,000 rupees (give or take) that is about $250 US. Postage must be extremely high..

  9. Their office in Colombo, Sri Lanka offered my an honory doctorate in medicine, complete with graduation ceremony - travel and accomodation not included - but the same beautifully crafted wood frame nevertheless. Sadly, I had to decline. I haven't a clue about medicine.

  10. Good grief - i feel bad for any kid that has to learn his address there!

  11. Wow, this is hilarious. I'm SO PROUD of you, as you should be of yourself. And Matthew Arnold, no less. Damn girl. You rock.

  12. Wow, this is hilarious. I'm SO PROUD of you, as you should be of yourself. And Matthew Arnold, no less. Damn girl. You rock.



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