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

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