Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tenth Rasa events in India and photos!

In January 2007, several book events took place around India. We started off with a reading at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, where Sumanyu and I imposed upon the stage with some impressive poets.

The first offical event was in Mumbai, 4 Jan, with a reading mostly organized by PEN India, with the help of Sampurna Chattarji (who has helped in innumerable ways!). This took place in the Theosophical Society library, where the stolid books looked down on us somewhat incredulously. The mic was faulty, though I found that it worked perfectly if I held it in my teeth, standing on-point with my proboscis pointed north (the photo of this pose, unfortunately, has been lifted and is now making the rounds in Swedish sauna websites). Participants included Sampurna Chattarji, Anushka Ravishankar, Anant Bhave, Usha Mehta, Anita Vaccharajani, and Ranjit Hoskoté.

In Chennai, a few days later (7 Jan), we did an official "launch", cutting the ribbon, unwrapping the book and all. I thought the ceremony rather silly, but when I mentioned the releasing of the doves (thinking myself to be in the spirit of things), the Powers that Be were not amused. Once again mic-less, we bellowed our nonsense into the void. Or at least into the tea bar of the Oxford Bookstore. Joining the fun: S. Ramakrishnan, M.D. Muthukumaraswamy, Sirish Rao, Kaushik Vishwanath, and Shreekumar Varma. We were glad to see the whole Tara group(ies?) there, amidst a gaggle of interns.

I stopped over in Guwahati, under the careful care of Dileep Chandan. He was kind enough to arrange a lecture for me at Cotton College (10 Jan). I was greeted warmly there and had the opportunity to speak to a room full of somewhat bewildered, but willing graduate students in media studies. Who knows what they thought of nonsense, but a good time was had, it seems.

Back in New Delhi. Anushka, Sayoni, Akshara, and I found our way through Civil Lines by pure instinct to reach Sarai, and a lovely, casual event in the coffee shop (13 Jan). Finally, the three editors harmoniously joined in a reading that included the now-famous chanting of "The Bathing Hymn", among other classics. Huzzooas and huzzahs followed.

The grand climax to this rash of events was to be a beatific book farewell at the infamous Badum-approved Bukhara, in the Maurya Sheraton. Shomma, Paul V K, Sayoni Q B, and Rehan B K and his ulto-kaka, Mike, raced to meet Anusha and Ravi for said farewell. After traffic wrangling and tangling, we decided on the somewhat less-glorious, but still delightful Bauji ka Dhaba, in Hauz Khas Village. Which no longer exists. Or, the village does, but it seems that all commercial activity has been booted from it, as we discovered after wandering the dark passages of the Hauz Khas Village complex, with an armful of Rehan. And so, with our firm upper-lip spiritually moustachioed, we ended up in a glorious, gluttonous galumphing gorge at Whimpy, at Arobindo Market. We shivered through our beanburgers and one lonely order of biryani (Paul shed a tear). Now, Samit, don't you wish you had joined us?? Many thanks and barrels of bhalobhashi to all!

Click on the photo below for photos from the various book launch events in India.

Tenth Rasa Book Events

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

New Nonsense stories in The Moustache Maharishi and other unlikely stories

We struggled to find nonsense prose for The Tenth Rasa--when all along Harsha Dandapani was waiting in the wings... An excellent nonsense story was recently published by Scholastic called "Relative Death", in the volume entitled The Moustache Maharashi and other unlikely stories (including the semi-nonsensical title story by yours truly!).

Unfortunately, this book only seems available within India. Here is a link to the Scholastic web site for more information: Click here

The Moustache Maharashi and other unlikely stories, New Delhi: Scholastic, 2007. ISBN:8176556025

Anushka Ravishankar

It is probably no surprise that I'm a fan of Anushka Ravishankar's nonsense prose and poetry. You can find some previously unpublished pieces in The Tenth Rasa ("If", "Discovery of India", and "Ogd"--all excellent!). If you're interested in more from Anushka, you should check out her other books:

Today is My Day, Excuse Me, Is This India?, Wish You Were Here, Alphabets Are Amazing Animals, Anything but a Grabooberry, Tiger on a Tree, One, Two, Tree, (all published by Tara), and Moin and the Monster published by Scholastic...and more to come!

You also might like to read this overview that I wrote for The Horn Book Magazine: Click here

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Tenth Rasa on the Recess radio show

Thanks to Kevin Shortsleeve and the Recess radio show. Click on this link for the transcript, and click on "Audio" for the, uh, audio.