Friday, July 06, 2007

Before and After

The reading went off amazingly well, thanks to those of you who asked. But who really wants to know the nitty gritties, right? So other gossip will happen.

After reading with The Little Theatre for ages, you'd think my own reading would be a breeze, wouldn't you? Actually, I was a nervous wreck. I couldn't sleep the night before, and the day gave me ample opportunity to finish chewing off what little skin I had left around each of my fingers. Afternoon came, and I regretted my decision to wear a sari. I had to drive through trauma-inducing traffic wearing yards of silk which kept getting tangled up in my footwear.

I'd offered to pick up Meenakshi Mukherjee, and arriving at her place, I asked my son to get out and carefully locked every door. A slow motion moment followed, when I slammed my door shut and simultaneously realised I'd left the keys in the ignition. 45 minutes to the reading and all the books are in my car, which is now locked. Of course, not having central locking, opening the car up by strictly illegal methods was a breeze. By this time, I'd calmed down and reach a state of zen.

At the Goethe Zentrium, a young reporter interviewed me. She was bright-eyed and I bubbled with enthusiasm and I think I wanted to be sick. Luckily she spotted Dr. Mukherjee and slid off to interview her.

Later, Dr. Mukherjee told me the girl wanted to know her opinion about Malayalam literature. Reporters ask such mystifying questions! But the girl was ticked off rather sternly, I'm told.

Dr. M: "Have you read any Malayalam literature?

Bright youg reporter: "Erm...Chemmeen."

Dr. M: "That was decades ago. What have you read recently? And why do you want to know about Malayalam literature in translation at a poetry reading from a book in English?"

I don't know if anyone else is surprised, but the reading wasn't covered by the newspaper she represented.

Another newspaper the following day 'spotted' several of The Little Theatre readers (who were reading with me) at the release. Anybody who hadn't been there could be forgiven for thinking that a poetry reading was the new P3 event to be seen at.

After the reading, I was idiotic enough to allow people to ask questions. One gentleman accused me of having no attachment to anyone. "There's a poem in which you say when the leaves drop there's no regret. That means people mean nothing to you. Could you say why you are like that?"

Later, while I was signing copies, the same gent came up to me and announced that he also writes poetry, but he writes - unlike me - mainly love poems. "Shall I recite one poem to you?" Being a basically nice person I mumbled something and he slunk away. I think.

So, reading over, we repaired to the Sailing Club to recruit our strength. Oh but that was fun. The rest of the evening passed in a fairly alcoholic haze, but I remember enough to state with conviction that it all ended brilliantly.

10 comments:

Banno said...

Wish I was there. Sounds like a lot of fun. Harrowing, but fun. I'd never dare to wear a sari, in such a state of nervousness. It's bad enough, otherwise.

SUR NOTES said...

Could you say why you are like that?
ok now that qualifies for the worst question ever asked in a discussion. atleast we docu filmmakers are only asked 'who did you make this film for?'

glad it went off well. come to bby.

Space Bar said...

Banno: Saris don't bother me; I'm pretty comfortable in them, but for some strang reason, not on that day.

Sur: Tell me about it! Bombay need to find someone to host a reading...will come as soon as that's settled.

Chimera said...

i thought you really looked cool and composed.
spoke to your son, he is such a sweetheart.
and did i miss the party at the sailing club? ;)

Space Bar said...

Chimera: Thanks! You should have hung on...why didn't you?!

Dipta Chaudhuri said...

You will do one in Delhi, won't you? And the Sailing Club part can happen at our place!

Cheshire Cat said...

You still haven't answered the question :)

Space Bar said...

Dipta: I've decided readings will happen only on the basis of the party after. So of course there will be a reading in Delhi!

Cheshire Cat: It is against my religion to answer such questions.

the mad momma said...

no really.. why are you like that? :P

if you were more attached you would come here and hold readings that Dipta and I can attend. we promise not to ask rude or stupid questions - no wait.. i can only speak for myself.

seriously though.. we are so proud of you and i wish i could have been there... now all i have to do is go hunt for a copy of your book. its still not at Teksons and I am not getting around much these days. but i shall get one soon and get it autographed by you.

Space Bar said...

TMM: By 'if you were more attached' you mean, I don't love you guys enough?! Those guys have to host a reading -then I will come! God promise.

In the meanwhile, the book wil NOT be available at Teksons or any other book store you can think of. You can get it only at 'Swati', Mandir Marg, where the SA's Sales Office is.

Yes, I know.