That's fair warning I'm giving everyone.
Yesterday, Ramachandra Guha was in conversation with Jyotirmaya Sharma about his book, India After Gandhi at the Kakatiya. A sudden downpour saw us walk in five minutes before the scheduled time of the event; as it happened JS and RG were also caught in the same traffic and walked in at the same time.
For some strange reason, five star hotels seem to think 'air conditioning' means refrigeration. The minute I walked in to the hall, I knew I was inadequately clad. For the next two hours, instead of a thermostat, someone had deputed a flunkey to turn on and off the air conditioner until everyone felt they had the flu.
Ram Guha has a charming habit of using his hands a lot while speaking but I felt dizzy watching his hands churn the air and move in continuous circles. Jyotirmaya asked his questions slowly and clearly and I would even say ponderously if I weren't worried about this turning up in google searches. Thank god for aliases, but hasn't my cover been blown?
I wonder why the questions never live up to the wit and erudition that writers invest their answers with. People asked about the 'what if's' that Ram Guha said historians have been taught never to ask: 'What if Gandhi had lived to the 1970's?' someone asked. (he'd have to be cryogenically preserved or something, but Guha was more polite than that). Someone else wanted to know about nationhood, whether population was the real probloem, about Sonia Gandhi, and what would have happened if the Congress hd been dismantled like Gandhi wanted it to be after Independence.
It was all very interesting but not having read the book, I can't say very much more. Luckily for us, Jyotirmaya opened the floor to questions provided that they were questions and not monologues or statements (people may have even clapped when he said this. I can't be sure). This was ruthlessly enforced, which was just as well.
This evening Jagdish Mittal will talk and release some book. God --I need to be better informed than this.
In other news, The Hindu Literary Review has this report on my book. Sigh. Oh, and since I'm beating my own drum with such insistence, Khushwant Singh in The Telegraph. Only, I'm not a film magazine editor; just a plain old editor. The kind that used to hang metres of celluloid around one's neck. you know? Darzi-ishtyle.