Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Quite Sethled

Two consecutive evenings of stimulation.

Intellectual stimulation, of course. What other kind do we Bongs know? (As I’ve mentioned earlier, we define a loser as ‘one who copulates with a moron’.)


Went to a book launch Monday evening. Awfully thick book, but a diminutive man. Turned out, however, that both were not only immensely likable but also rather impressive. Self-deprecating humour, yet firm and assertive when required.

The man knows at least four languages (Hindi, English, Chinese, German). Speaks German with that accent. Cleared his A levels in German with just six months of preparation. Mentioned translating something from Hebrew.

Read pure math before he went up to Oxford. Because he ‘enjoyed it more than applied math’. Quite.

Two degrees in Economics ("both from good universities", as he mentioned in a recent interview. Didn't know he went to school with Amitav G)

Bisexual, which seems pragmatic. As Woody Allen pointed out, it doubles the chances of getting some on a Friday night.

Speaks fluently, lucidly, articulating clearly. In complete, grammatically impeccable sentences. A rare quality even among writers and politicians, who live off their words. (In my experience, lawyers don’t even come within hailing distance)

Very evidently at ease in his own skin. Another rare quality. (I wondered how he could be at ease in that Nehru veskit; he took it off after the photo-shoot.)

I had assumed that he had formal training in Western classical music; I asked him about it and it turned out he learnt khayal in his school-days. Later started singing Schubert lieder as a means to relieve stress. The apparent insider angle in An Equal Music was just research. Academic rigour makes me despair.

I give up. I shan't ever bother to write anything, I can never be a hundredth as good.


Sunday had brought its own dose of despair. I’d been telling myself I’m not quite middle-aged yet. Yeah right. The next-oldest blogger present was ten years younger than me. I was nearly thrice as old as the youngest in evidence. The matter was gracefully settled when I was dubbed ‘Kaku’ (Uncle). Hmmm.

All very intellectually stimulating, however. Food for thought and all that.

Inspiring variety of interests (also mentioned here, here and here). Like RSS. The feed, not the (a)political organisation. (I don’t think I could have survived khaki shorts in Flury’s.)

A surprisingly mature level of intellectual give-and-take.

Eclectic topics. Like fish in chocolate sauce.

Meditative moments. .(I suspect he practises that look. Only he did it better in his profile pic.) The presence of a literate (and literary, though not famous for it yet) celebrity. Some, of course, beg the question. Some seek to be self-effacing.

And some succeed only too well.

We even had a suitably admiring audience. Or perhaps ‘bemused’ would be more accurate. Note the expression.

A very productive meeting. We drafted a document to address what we considered the most important concerns of the blogosphere. (For serious researchers, a right-click should provide magnification ...)

Like all good things ...
but this almost came to an end under the wheels of a Calcutta yellow cab.

Until we conceded that this, too, must pass. The cab. Not blogging.

Last word - a venerable colleague started to tell me about the new phenomenon of 'blogging'. I nodded and mentioned weblogs; he contradicted me and went on to a detailed exposition. I realised, to my horror, that he had confused blogging with 'dogging'. Then I pondered on which of the two seems more exciting.

I feel yet more inadequate



Teleute said...

two questions:
a) where is the picture that i took?
b) why does it look like i'm winking at my chicken patty?
tumi portraits ekdom paro na :(

Prerona said...


Woody Allen would say that, wouldnt he!

Nice pictures. I was trying to guess who's who and failing miserably (though I think I might have the meditating gentleman pinned) :)

Seth is what everyone seems to be talking about in right now. Everyone is suitably impressed! Did you mean Amitav Ghosh ... I thought he would be much older?
Maths and literature and music ... what a combination!

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

AAAAAARGH! How come everyone is meeting Vikram Seth but me. I am letting out a silent primal scream at the injustice

Srin said...

Hehe,everybody looks funny in the pictures.Haha.

Unjustified Insanity~~ said...

Ahh and finally the pictures are up.
great pictures JAP da (it seems that this be a better name than Kakoo)

Tom Pinkerton said...

1. Hallelujah! A noo post!

Sorry, we know that's rich coming from a failed post-er, but we were SO bored!

2. You saw Vikram Seth. You had *conversation* with him. Could we *be* more jealous? We don't think so.

3. As good as him? Are oranges better than apples?
We *love* him. We love pompously-endearing (or is that endearingly-pompous?) you too (Look doc, no gin!). :D

@ The Shoe Fiend
*We* haven't met him.
*clears throat to join in primal-scream-chorus*

Shobhik said...

Hmmm... I look stupid. As usual.

'Kakoo' is too good to discard!

eM said...

Now I think a who's who is in order :) People should really be made to wear URL-nametags at these dos, especially if pictures are involved!

Rimi said...

i look like the ultimate dork, but oh, i luurve the pics! ( NO name tags, em!!!)
tarpor, aamar purono blog e ektu esho... *please please please!!!*

babelfish said...

now wishing I had held menu up in front of face when suggested, hate it when photos fail to reveal what a stunningly attractive being I am *in my dreams* sheesh!!!

And JAPda, absolutely no disrespect meant *but* you know how keep associating the words fat and old with yourself; well, they may suit a middle-aged fictive creation of TSE but having met you might one say you remind one of Uncle Fred flitting about spreading sweetness and light *only a good many years younger*

DoZ said...

That you were in a 10 mile radius of Seth is enough to break my heart... You had to *converse* with the man!

Ph said...


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

T'Ute - It appears you did not take a picture, you just posed on the wrong side of the camera. And your flirtations (with a patty in this case) are your prerogative.

Prerona, Shoe Fiend, Doz - he's a dude/

Srin - and not in real life?

UI, Kanti - thanks

Tom P - *silent slow blink*

eM - 'no names' was the decision. Ohhh, look at all the lovely people... (dee-da-dee-da-dee-da-dee-da)

Rimi - read it. Commented.

B'Fish - thank you, great compliment. Or wait, would I rather be Galahad Threepwood?

Ph - Ainh?


SomeSethsItAll said...

Not all Seths...I tell you. Not all!

Plumpernickel said...

There's something wrong with your template. I keep seeing snippets of code and your links appear at the bottom.

Krishanu said...

with some magic with photoshop i might just look good in the photograph that you took of me...

Shobhik said...

Galahad Threepwood...hmmm. Then who's Freddie?

M (tread softly upon) said...

Okay after the initial "missed it again" feeling scanned through the photos to spot and guess the bloggers from my idea of what they look like. Loved the exercise. Easier esp after people left comments about what they thought they looked like in the photos. Glad you put the photos up there.
JAP please don't call yourself old. You are as old as the company you keep and when you are nestled among first yr college students, THAT is exactly how old you are.

Teleute said...

hah! i insist that you touched up the pictures to make me look like a food-flirt!

kintu seriously, nijer ekta chhobi post koro, na.

babelfish said...

Did you ever love a woman in pink tights and get shipped off to South Africa by stern Victorian type father???
na, Uncle Fred you shall be, he's equally lissome and young at heart and far more adventurous :D

Parna said...

why didn't these happen when i used to live in the city!!!

Shobhik said...

Uncle Fred is way better than Galahad Threepwood.



Yes its a cultivated look designed to make me appear "decent". It works better when 75% of my face is in the dark.

Now as to rewind: the things we discussed consisted of l'affair Guha of SPHS and Moonmoon Sen's independent movies. Too scandalous to put down in print and hence I wont say more here but leave it for the next blogmeet I can attend.

Sphinx said...

nice pics, I agree with srin