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.
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.
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.