Musings in Pink

The end of the Jaipur Literature Festival is approaching and as I prepare myself for a kind of Warrior’s Rest – to quote Vadim’s film and which I’ll explain a bit later on – I just want to share a couple of highlights, quirky facts and quotes from the past few days. Not all have to do with literature, hell some don’t even have to do with art, but certainly all hit me for some reason or another. Think of it as a kind of pink-tinged brainstorming session.

Writer, poet, lyricist to our lives Gulzar, impeccable as ever in crisp white with an cream woolen shawl strategically draped on his arm, explained why Nehru chose English as the language of his eve of Independence speech “So as not to discriminate against other Indian languages spoken. English was the common language” understood by all. Within his poet soul there isn’t an ounce of polemical or angry blood. Truly, Gulzar Saab is a noble man all the way.

Vikram Chandra wittily pointed out that “Technology is whatever has been invented since you were born” and his wisdom was followed by The Daily Beast Tina Brown’s “Everyone is so busy communicating that no one is listening or reading”. Indeed, in an age where it is so important to let everyone know what you ate for breakfast or what color underwear you are wearing today – all in 140 characters or less – where is the quality?

While I am on Vikram Chandra, I hereby officially name him the Rockstar of international Indian literature, while I found Ruchir Joshi to be the Bengali Javier Bardem. Both might be baffling thoughts but if you disagree, go ahead and tweet about it. Don’t even think of arguing about it here! Chandra said “I Reserve my opinion” on Suketu Mehta’s ‘Maximum City’ and when Shoma Chaudhury of Tehelka urged him on to reveal if he liked the book he continued “I read the book”. Rock on! As far as Joshi goes, well, the physical similarity is eery and when you add in his recently curated erotic anthology ‘Electric Feather’, then the comparison to the ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona’ star becomes even more poignantly real…

If you have not read Geoff Dyer‘s ‘Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi’ run, don’t walk to the bookstore – or your computer to order it from, if that’s your favored mode of purchase. He had the audience on an early Saturday morning crying from laughter at his recounting of an ATM incident in India. Lets just say that “Look into my eyes” will never have the same meaning again, as won’t standing in a queue.

I keep looking for that “Nattily dressed man from Delhi” who is one of the editors of Vogue India… It’s an inside joke of course, as is “As poles go, this is the pole to see and be seen”, which will only be comprehensible to a small group of friends. But if you are that aforementioned natty guy from Vogue, well, I’m always looking to write my column for you guys. Call it a not-so-secret dream…

Sunday morning earlybirds were treated to a surprise session with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, with loads of security around her which, in the midst of such a relaxed environment, was both exciting and surreal. While her impassioned talk with Shoma Chaudhury was too momentous to reduce to a snippet, a highlight was her concept that Islam will only be able to reform somehow when the idea of its absolute perfection is done away with by its followers. 

Louis de Bernières - ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ and much, much more – wins the award for most graciously personable author. At once warm and lovely and incredibly charismatic, his sense of humor is only rivaled by his acute intelligence and unassuming ways, not to mention his prowess around a cuatro

So now onto this matter of the Warrior’s Rest for me. I started this website as a means to spread the word about my writing and get my book published. In turn, this got me work as a ‘journalist’ of sorts – I can’t call myself a blogger, as I’ve realized bloggers are long-winded twitterers, writing things as soon as they happen and truly, I’m too much of a perfectionist for that! My newfound writing assignments then began occupying all of my time and energy, so my book took up the back burner. These days, through my writing I’ve become deeply connected with Indian culture and goings-on around the world and in NYC. It’s my niche, though my dedication is not bearing the fruits it deserves. I am nothing if not an individualist and I realize I am treading in a culture that doesn’t always celebrate that, after all, it is more than a billion people strong?! The rights and tastes of all cannot possibly be observed, at the risk of chaos!

Anyway, this brings me back full circle to my first passion – OK my second passion, right after Individualism with a capital “I” – MY BOOK. Don’t be surprised if I don’t show up at the next Hindi film opening or retire my Indo-centric fashions for a while, but I need a bit of a disconnect from it all, to reconnect with the sexy, confident, glamorous and strong woman inside me. You see, I can always find her in Spanish dancing, French cooking and Italian clothing, but she is not allowed to flourish in everything Indian. Within those confines, she is beginning to feel claustrophobic, unfeminine and not particularly appreciated, which as a Leo is indispensable. Hope this makes sense… Anyway, to me it does and to my closest friends, it certainly will.

Image of Ruchir Joshi is from Tehelka

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One Response to “Musings in Pink”

  1. vikram chandra:

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