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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

March Read Meet under Open Skies.

One more lovely evening, I attended with my Caferati folks, this time in South Mumbai, Kemps Corner, to be exact. The theme this month was on sharing notes on the workshops that we had attended during Kala Ghoda Festival in February 2008. I was surprised by the number of people who were anxious to attend. The members at the read-meets were dwindling lately, sometimes as low as five members, but this read-meet was choc-a-bloc. Writers were waiting for some other members to drop out, so that, they could be accommodated. Was it because there were notes to be shared or was it because it was at a convenient location? Whatever, I think people always need a reason to attend, especially if they are not a regular. And, members who attended were not disappointed. Who would? A read meet on a terrace, facing the sea, a generous crowd, who is willing to share their knowledge with people, some of those, whom they are meeting for the first time, a perfect hostess, Kareena Merchant, who made everybody comfortable with her warm chats and tasty chaats and a meticulous organizer, Suniti Joshi, who did lot of leg work alone and yet, so precisely perfect. Hats off to Suniti, who always takes extra effort and time and responds to every member patiently! I was lucky this time to find two friends, who were willing to share a taxi with me and we reached at the venue on the dot of 5pm. After warm up and the introduction of 27 members in Kareena’s house, we went upstairs to the terrace to bathe in the sunshine amidst the cool winds of the open seas. The meeting continued with poem read by Jaya Bhandari, a fiction by Soma Sarkar and a descriptive poem by John. So engrossed was I in their readings, that I forgot to watch the sun-set. (Actually I was sitting in a wrong direction, facing the tall buildings and a cliff of the ‘Hanging Gardens’), But I saw a black bird, resting up there, on a TV antenna, who wanted an audience too, but his verses swayed in the breeze. A short break after the readings was not very short because the snacks were too tasty. It takes time to eat Sev Puri, sandwiches, batatwadas and walnut cake and drown it with a cup of tea/coffee. Second session started with Suniti sharing her ‘Performance Poetry’, Ramesh on ‘Writing for Children’, Samarth on ‘Screen Writing’ Archana on ‘Pastoral Poetry and Kareena on “Freelancing’. I was aware of the time limit of the read meet, and I wanted to hear about other’s experience (and not waste my time, hearing myself speak,) therefore I had prepared notes (Xeroxed it 15 times) on the points that were discussed during the workshop on ‘Getting Published’ and I was happy to distribute it to those, who were interested. I am glad I did that, because the meeting had extended for too long, (9:30pm) and it was getting very late to reach back home. Some of the busy members had to rush off half way to attend to their other commitments, and I was glad that I was able to share my notes with them too.

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