Saturday, January 21, 2006

Book Readings : By the Sea

Crossword Juhu, Organised a series of Book Readings under the blanket of "By the Sea" as part of the Ongoing Juhu Hamara Festival.

The session brought together:
Arundhati Subramaniam read some of her poetry.
Saleem Peeradina an Indian professor of creative writing from the US who read some of his prose from The Ocean in My Yard.
Sonia Faleiro read from her yet to be released "The Girl"
There was Anand Thakore, a musician cum poet who read some poetry he had written. He was heavily into greek tragedies, & I doubt if too many people seated in the crowd could understand what he was all about.

It was interesting to watch the reactions of the panelists while any one other than themselves was speaking. Arundhati's facial expressions were very distant, uninvolved & bored while the others were reading. When it was her turn, she started off with a broad smile to try & build rapport with the audience, which had no one fooled.

Prof. Saleem Peeradina was the most polite & well mannered of the lot. I guess it comes out of being a creative writing prof where he must be enduring much worse.

Sonia's diamonds were glittering in the lighting and she seemed restless as she kept fidgeting around in her chair.

Anand Thakore seemed like a tantrum throwing musical creative sort. He didn't throw any tantrums but it seemed possible that he might. Some tea had to be arranged for him as he needed to drink something hot.

The readings were interesting. Arundhati has a way with words. Must come from practice. Would have been good if the professor could have used a little more expression in his voice & on his face. Sonia's book seems worth buying. Anand, I don't know. I will need to do a lot more catching up on my greek literature before I can pick up his writings, otherwise I will be forced inot doing more research than reading to understand what he said.

It was a pleasant reminder of what the Sea means to Mumbaikars.

The worst part was when the session was thrown open to questions, one crazy character came upon the scene. Wearing a black "ganji/baniyaan/singlet/whatever u call it" Some wooden beads around his neck & the most colorful camouflage pants ever. He had been absent throughout the readings but suddenly came downstairs when the open session began. Then he went about asking the most convoluted questions in neither pidgin english nor hindi, that no one could understand whther he was trying to make a statement or ask a question. He would just orate for 7 minutes or longer, refusing to be interrupted by either the panel, the moderator or the audience & then stand defiantly waiting for someone to realise that he had stopped talking for now & maybe this was the chance to cut him off.

But this character (neither kid, nor man, nor teen) was an extreme pain in all the wrong places. Then he started lagaoing as to how he gets 5 lakhs for writing an ad brief or something like that. Maybe he thought that there would be cameras there or something, but all he seemed to be there for was some attention. It didn't matter if it was positive or negative or that the entire assembly there would have liked to throw their slippers at him. So irritating was he, he spoilt the entire atmosphere & camaraderie that had begun to build up.

If u wanna read more catch Sonia Faleiro's perspective on her blog on the same.

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