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Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Read meet over a cup of ‘Kappi’

Mumbai is an interesting city. People in Mumbai are always busy. Besides sweating at their work places, you can see them running on the roads, changing trains/buses, shopping in those shiny malls or eating leisurely on the streets or in the fancy restaurants. Non-residents of Mumbai would think that Mumbaites might be relaxing during week-ends. But no! Mumbaites cannot relax! Over week-ends too, they are busy with extra-curriculum activities such as kitty parties, picnics to out-station resorts, or movies. Then there are read-meets too, where the upcoming writers meet (once a month) to brush their writing skills. A theme is chosen each month, and all writers are expected to work on their script around that topic. They meet during these read meets, taking their masterpieces with them and allow it chop under the critical eyes of other writers. It helps them to polish their scripts and by sharing their writing tips with other writers, they get the gist of the real writing world. I, too, love attending these read-meets; month after month, we meet at different venues, sometimes in private homes, some times in open terraces and sometimes even under the trees in public places! And this month’s read meet was a special event, organized in an elite club which had strict dress code that would not tolerate any shabby appearance. During the read meets, it is important to look presentable for that eight-minute-fame while we are reading (to distract the writers from our bad writings to our physical charms) but this time, it was obligatory and if we dressed shabbily we would not get passed through those royal gates “Not just neat....shirts (even T-shirts) must be with collar; no shorts, no sandals; shoes and socks obligatory. Torn jeans are not appreciated..” informed one of the read-meet member “.My son came for a family dinner and was turned away because of his scruffy appearance and peek-a-boo toes, we had to rush him home, tie the long hair in a pony tail and give him my friend’s polo shirt and pant, also shoes....of course all too large, but in the view of the management, better he looked like Charlie Chaplin than a hobo”. Such was the venue chosen in Mumbai for June read meet. So this time the writers had not only to concentrate on writing on the theme ‘Water’ (this month’s theme), they would also had to focus on shopping for clothes for that special event. My friend Vinod, who normally comes to the read-meet in khadi clothes with a khadi bag slung diagonally across his chest (and black band sandals with toes touching the ground), came to my house, early morning on the day of read meet. “Why have you come here to my house so early in the morning?” I said “Do you have a black tie?” He said “Why do you want a black tie? You never wear one, all you wear is this khadi, long kurtas and khadi pyjama with this long, hanging string” I said “I know, I know, but you don’t understand, I want to attend read meet today and I have been looking since last fifteen day for a black tie to go formal for this day.” he said “You mean to say that you have not found any tie in any shop?” I said “No, no, it’s not that, actually I have wanted to buy a khadi tie but none of the stores are selling them.” he said “You can't possibly wear a khadi tie over these clothes! They won't allow you an entry. Why don’t you dress up like an English man and wear a full suit with shoes and socks and look neat and tidy?” I said “You know, na, I don’t have any suits and to buy such an expensive suit for just a day is a bit too much for me.” he said “Okay, let me go through my brother’s wardrobe. Maybe I could lend you some of his finest clothes.” I said “You girls are so lucky; you know they are allowing women to come dressed as they please. There is no restriction on dress code for girls.” he said “Yes, yes, I know, now take these clothes and try them on; maybe you can fit into these.” I said He went into changing room and came back after few minutes, dressed in my brother’s clothes, in two sizes smaller than his. “You know I cannot breathe” he gasped At 5pm, Vinod and I sat in an Udipi restaurant, sipping Kappi and reading to each other the notes on ‘water’ (the theme of the day) He was happy with just one feedback.

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