Guess Anil Dharkar is a genius. Yes, you must give it to him, sincerely, or, grudgingly. How he pulled off the Mumbai Literary Festival is what legends are made of. Sure. I am a great admirer of Dharkar and his writing. I guess I have to add his organising skills also to that. It isn't easy to find a venue, manage the speakers, coordinate the sessions. However, I guess getting Tata to sponsor the festival was another stroke of genius because you can have NCPA for a song and all the other Tata companies are bound to chip in.
I attended a few of the sessions and they were well organised. There was Anil Dharkar, curly hair now the colour of pepper-and-salt (he has that look of deep unperturbed meditation about him [please don't think I am sucking up]), there is the pony-tailed poet and writer Adil Jussawala (whose poems and essays I used to read regularly in the magazine debonair, am a great fan of his, too!).
I also see for the first time Farukh Dhondy (no, being self effacing, I didn't introduce myself), Mark Tully, Neil Astley (of Bloodaxe, a publisher of verse), and above all the young and effervescent poet Caroline Bird. She recited all her poems from memory, imagine! She has such a good memory, I am jealous of her.
Then there was Matthew Sharp with a flautist (forget his name, please refresh my failing memory) who played Whale Songs. Yes, now I remember, Sameer Rao. Now Rao did an exact replication of the whale song with his flute, supported on the cello by Matthew Sharp. From the Indian side there were poets: Jerry Pinto, Arundhati Subramaniam, and Ranjit Hoskote.
I missed the other performers, discussants, and book launchers, as being a corporate denizen I had my job to keep. However, the who's-who of the artists who appeared in the festival is here.
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