Friday, April 29, 2016

the panicked screeches of birds losing their homes and wood being hacked for no reason...this has kept me busy... more later

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I have a story up on Pure Slush.. this one's derived from hours of meetings one has sat through.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Photos from a tree walk last week...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Trees aflame with flowers-- kesu, or the flame of the forest. African tulip, trees bursting with blooms.

Leaves crunch underfoot.

Like life and none, and the cycle of time. 

The past few months have been heavy with loss.

Perhaps it is time for color to return.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Delighted to announce Kathy Highcove's wonderful review of my translated novel, Hon'ble Minister Jagubhai.
The review appears on the prestigious Internet Review of Books:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Memories from the  Litfest

Mehboob Studios was the venue, like the last few years. Look up and you see lights and scaffolds.
Surging crowds. Signages, collages, installations. Much style.

You register every day and wear a colored band on your wrist. They said 20K people visited.  Hmm.

The theme was freedom of speech. Sceptical about festivals making a ground level difference but still heard the lecture and brought the Sahmat book (featuring  writing by all 3 of the writers who were gunned), bought the poster. Phir?

Expensive food. After the first day I carried a dabba and limited myself to one great treat per day. Superb freshly baked cookies for 80/- per.  Mehboob canteen helped with the frequent tea pangs.

Milling crowds. PYTs in v little,  guys in grungy T’s and afros

Highlight—speaking to Vikram Seth. THE Mr Seth. (I’d saved that SPAN interview for years). What a setting. Lights on the trees, golden bird cages bobbing. The National Symphony performed pieces from An Equal Music. Speeches by Justice Leila Seth and Bachi Karkaria. Apparently there was a spat of some sort with both the Litfest and the Tata literature do wanting to honor the man. I waited until all the young uns had their Suitable Boy tomes autographed. I thanked him for Golden Gate and Humble Administrator’s Garden. And he thanked me in turn, saying no one remembers these anymore.

housefull audience for Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Abhijaat Joshi 
Another one. Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijaat Joshi discussed screenwriting, housefull crowd but of course. “Write even if you feel like a cockroach”. And Kurosawa ? quoted saying “ fade in.write write write write write. Fade out.” LCD formula used to ruthlessly chop scenes—if it doesn’t have laughter/crime/drama the scene goes kabooom! Abhijaat Joshi also spoke about his first cheque from VVC. At that time AJ’s father was ill and in hospital. AJ showed him the (huge) cheque and he said only one word—Class. Some questions unanswered—how many ppl will you show your script to? Spoke to Mr Joshi for a moment where I told him in Gujarati how inspiring it had been to listen to him. But in that audience there were people who had seen Broken Horses, which is not released in India as yet.

Serendipity is good. At the tail end of a session on Darjeeling tea and how it should be served and sipped (I grinned thinking of my killer brew), tea was gifted…wow. Not bad, considering I was there to get a good seat for the next event, a discussion between Twinkle Khanna and Moni Mohsin. MM is classy, witty, a great mimic.Poise!  Said she’d been writing longer than TK had been alive. TK seemed repetitive. Claws.

Avoided hearing Devdutt Pattanayak speak, it was too soon after hearing Kannan Sundaram, the Perumal Murugan publisher speak. Also heard  from an acquaintance DP’s ideas about fame and earned fame. A put off.

Serendipity 2- hearing Shrabani Basu, Raghu Karnad and Nisid Hajri speak about their chance encounters with wonderful material in dusty archives. Shrabani Basu has written Victoria and Abdul, an account of the Urdu teacher to the Empress. She spoke about working in the British library, in the Windsor archives, and hearing about Abdul’s diary which still is with his extended family in Karachi… she travelled to read it, got each page photocopied and translated… Raghu Karnad’s book is about Indian soldiers in WWI.. begins with how the war reached Kochi with a sudden increase in the price of eggs. Nisid Hajri’s book about the partition begins in 1946, and he read out how Panditji’s car enroute Wardha happened to hit a child on an empty, dusty road, the child did not survive but that image, fleck of blood on a white kurta have stayed with me.

Hearing Kiran Nagarkar’s stories being  read out despite my basic Marathi.  Hearing Kiran Nagarkar read from Ravan and Eddie, intonation pitch perfect. His clear thought about freedom of speech, and the cost of the 11 years he spent exiled from words

Hearing Anjum Hassan read from her book, The Cosmopolitans. Crisp, elegant writing. The protagonist  too real life for comfort.

Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak read from The Scenes we made. I heard the para about the grand Bhulabhai Desai institute where art flourished in all its forms  and a Parsi gent ran the place with an eagle eye.

Also heard: Jitesh Pillai in conversation with Kabir Khan and Meghna Gulzar;  Harvard Prof Michael Sandel about ethics and morality, Tony Buzan teach a housefull audience how to build mind maps.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

November was MAMI. Post Nov 5 I wrote abrupt lines—“MAMI is finally over.  25 movies in 7 days is the most I have ever seen in a short time this lifetime. The best ones you don’t get to see—Taxi, The Room, Haramkhor. But some fantastic ones. "

 A viral caught me off foot and that’s where I had stopped.

Yet this must be captured. What madness. 3 movies, 4 movies back to back is the most I have seen in a lifetime. Even  if it meant running from one theatre to another. Even if it meant booking at midnight. Even if it meant being the visibly oldest person or among a few in a standby queue of what looked like teeny boppers. Until they discussed production schedules and set up anchors with a few calls.  Running into a few stalwarts like AG and AV and PKS and going home and balking at their credits on IMDb. Or running into NK at the security and gushing like a teenager how I lovvve his movies. Friends made, maybe temporarily-- like SR and RM-AM, chatting over masala dosas at Ashoka and shared rickshaw rides.

So many of the superbly made movies got lesser notice than they deserved.

Like Peace Haven, which ought to have received a better audience reaction, super strong storyline and elegant treatment.

Chronic. I do not think I am ever going to forget the end shot and BAM! Anyone who has lived with a seriously ill parent for a seriously long time must watch this.

Francofonia. What brilliant work, what a tribute. Anyone who shuddered mourned Bamiyan must watch this.

45 years. So refreshing to see such wonderful acting by older actors. So wonderful to see stories clearly written for older actors. (See teenybopper audience above)

Mina Walking. Shot guerrilla style, in Kabul. Baracki, the director, said that the story formed as he shot scene after scene, improvised… fantastic work

Adama. That a animation movie can be as finely etched. So beautiful. About roots and wings.

Threshold.  Not merely about a squabbling long married couple in a scenic backdrop (tirthan?). Life, losses and compromises that one just doesn’t want to make any more. Enough. Life is too short.

Junoon. For the music. Jodhpur palace in all its splendour. Haunting memory of the trumpet player trudging home after midnight…

The movies, documentaries one would not have seen otherwise. 

Like the documentary on Ram Kumar, Lal bhi udaas ho sakta hai . graceful figures with lucid eyes. Very different from the abstracts online. 

Immortals, what a tribute, though a little a for apple and one wonders how someone like MN would have treated this. 

A man and a woman, Oscar winner from 1967, though the print we saw was sans color, beautiful b&w. 

By Sidney Lumet, though I may have dozed, need to read more. 

Mia Madre. Hector. Journey through China—though the end was slightly unbelievable, but what awesome acting by the mother.  

And yes, Kaili Blues that I walked out of.

Next time, make the theplas in bulk to save minutes.

And book the hell out of tickets in the first ten minutes-- after that, no chance.