Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I wrote the report of the May 2006 readmeet of Caferati

Venue: A terrace with a view of flying jets and pigeons

The onus is upon me to prepare the readmeet report as I occupied the moderator’s chair at the May 2006 readmeet of Caferati. But how can I do justice to the report when I am nose-deep in work and fighting for survival?

So here is the bare essentials, minus all the usual fluff.

The ultimate distilled essence of it all? I will race through this for want of time. Apart from the fact that more than thirty-five people turned up for this meet (wonder what would happen when we touch a hundred) and the evening was rife with intelligent conversations, playful flirtations (one gentleman gallantly offered to kneel down and ask for a fair lady’s hand) and light banter that only writers can pull off. The mood and venue (courtesy Mayuri Sharma or M!) was definitely exhilarating and soul lifting.

The evening was warm, and when I reached Mayuri’s terrace I found I was alone in the company of screaming jet flying overhead (we had to interrupt readings to let the huge metal birds pass) and pigeons perched in a neat line on an overhead television cable. From where I stood surveying the scenery I could see a parrot-green-painted building in the distance.

Mayuri came up looking a bit flustered, as the chairs she had hired hadn’t come. To further compound her dithering the chair vendor had switched off his mobile thingamajig. But I must admit Mayuri is a gracious hostess, the “laughter potion” mentioned below will testify to that. Suniti came fresh and looking relaxed and full of verve and one-liners (as always) with Hemant in tow and Hemant started shooting the pigeons with his Sony camera. I vote to nominate Hemant as our official paparazzi. Hemant and Suniti also spotted the parrot-green-painted building in the distance.

And, oh, yes, the chair man came by then and we arranged the chairs in an oval and I sat at the head of the oval, since I was the official chairman, not, chair man, please note.

Slowly the other Caferati members started trickling in and the surprise addition was Anubhav Pal, playwright from New York, whose “Fatwa” was being read at the end of the readmeet by none other than Vivin Mathew Easo (remember him from our Kala Ghoda meet?), Peter Griffin, and Manish Lakhe. The play readers proved they were master actors too by bringing to life the characters with their diction and enunciation. This, while Vivin confessed that he hadn’t even read a word of the play.

What made the play reading more interesting was the discussion with Anubhav Pal at the end of Act I. Anubhav has a whacky sense of humor. When someone suggested the characters of Michael Jordan and Mohamed Ali shouldn’t be man and man but could have been man and woman, he said, “People say this all this time, it shouldn’t be man and man it should be man and woman, you know, I say why not man and horse?”

Hahahahahahahahahaha, sorry for getting carried away! But that was the kind of humor that was unreeled. The play may debut in Delhi, if Dan can get sponsors, and Delhi people please watch out, this play will have you quaking in your seats.

Those who came included: Malcolm Carvalho, Rohinton Daruvala, Arjun Bali, Mukul, Yati, Rashmi Dhanwani, Merril Diniz, Manisha Lakhe, Sonia Menezes, Laxmi Lobo, Pallavi Jayakar, Anubhav Pal with three friends (I didn’t note their names), Suniti Joshi, Vishal, Vivin Mathew Easo, Jane Bhandari with a distinguished-looking friend (again, don’t know his name), Peter Griffin, Jugal Mody (who walked in late, groggy after jaundice and exams), Ajit Jani, Mayuri Sharma, Sourav Roy, Gauri Bhure, etc. If I have left out someone, please let me know, I didn’t recognize a few faces, though I consider myself a veteran of readmeets by now.

The food spread out included poha, cakes, sandwiches, and coffee. I guess Mayuri mixed the coffee with some “laughter potion” and therefore there was a lot of hearty laughter all around after the food was served, and eaten. Thank you Mayuri for your kindness and hospitality.

Sonia Menezes is off to Canada next month. No, not for a junket, but for ever. We will miss her. She was the inspiration for my short story “Flirting in Short Messages.” I, and Caferati, will miss her. Bye Sonia, may you do well wherever you are and do keep in touch!

Oh, by the way, I was there too! Anybody see the guy in the pony tail?

Hemant’s photographs


Batul said...

Hey, John, Even though I was not there, your description makes me feel I was, and wish I was, too. What was the secret of the parrot green building though?

John said...

Hi Batul,

Mystery of the parrot green building? I am still foxed! May be we could solve it at the next caferati meeting.

How are you?