Sunday, February 07, 2010

Day One at Kala Ghoda – A Report


The chairs in Cama Hall are vintage, comfortable, the fans are mounted horizontally, the long stem protruding from the side walls, giving a cool breeze - better than the stale air in multiplexes - the audio is not very clear if you sit in the back, but up in the front it’s lovely.

I caught Costa Gavras’ Amen and 3-iron directed by  Kim Ki-duk, a delightful Korean movie about empty houses, wherein the hero and heroine don’t even speak a word to each other, but their actions, emotions can be seen on their faces. (Please, watch this, Bollywood guys and gals, you will feel that you are wasting your plotlines by filling it up with inanities about “love for ever,” “love ho jata hai, kiya nahi jata,” and all that crappy crap.)


Later on at the David Sassoon Library, I go through the delightfully restored library which is a favourite haunt of yours truly. I did most of the writing of my first novel here. Then I go down to the library garden where a tribute to Facebook-friend Dilip Chitre is in progress with poet Sanjay Khandekar reading Dilip’s poems, with the right nuances, I might add. I haven’t met Dilip, which is a great regret I have. Sanjay says he was active till his final days. His poem “Has my time come?” rightly captures the anguish he felt in his final days.

Later on Nilanjana Roy does a well-researched presentation on Books of the Decade in which she pretty much wraps up the decade in retrospect – book-wise and publishing-trend-wise. Her’s was a presentation filled with humourous asides: “I combed my hair, but the fan did things to it.” Nilanjana, if you are reading this, “Your hair looked all right to me.”


Following this editor Anita Roy and writer and fellow blogger Amit Varma came on stage. Anita said, “The Bloomsbury guys said we are standing on the edge of a precipice, a bottom-less void,” or something such, I don’t remember, vis-à-vis the online digital prospects of books. I guess publishers have reasons to be scared as she herself said, “People don’t like to pay for something they can download for free.” Or, are available on the net cheaply. Peter Griffin has an aside to this, “Somebody said at the Jaipur Literary that you can’t take a Kindle to the bathroom, to which somebody retorted, ‘Yes you can.’”

So those who have perused the Kindle in the bathroom please let me know in the comment section, right below this post, what you did when washing/wiping your posterior. Left it on the bathroom floor?

So where does it take the book-printing-and-publishing industry?


I stand outside David Sassoon Library and look at the mess the traffic is making. As expected there is no cop at the intersection of Dubash Marg with M.G.Road and I see a situation typical of Bombai. Cars squeeze themselves into an unseemly pile on both crosses of the intersection and the drivers vent their spleen on their horns. How’s this for doing a rap-thing on the streets:

Horn baja de, horn baja de
Baap ka rasta hai, baja, baja!

I am tired, now I need sleep. Keep tuned for tomorrow’s report. Till then, bye.

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