Friday, February 26, 2010

Spinning the Cotton Candy

A title that my friend Gul, I know, will happily take credit for. She says I am good at it, spinning nice long tales. I thought that was what writers were supposed to do! ;-)
I have a lot on my mind today, a lot that I am in the mood to write about, a long time after. What started this was a tragedy, predictably, you would say, if you knew me well enough.

The past few days have been rather interesting, for several reasons. I was at Carlton Towers this morning, the one that caught fire and led to the death of nine people, some who jumped to their deaths in Bangalore's busy Old Airport Road. I had mercifully escaped going there when it happened earlier this week and in the days after it. Tragedy on an empty stomach doesn't sit too well for me. But you know what, tragedy makes for great copy.

I hate that thing about journalism, that the most sorry stories give you the best scope to write well. I remember once when we went behind a soldier's mortal remains when it was flown in from the north to his village on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border. It was already past ten in the night when we ended up going behind the van that was carrying his remains. The piercing wails still ring in my ears. But cooped up in a car with the laptop battery running out and shooting off the story just before midnight was a voyeuristic rush. It remains one of my best stories.

Today at Carlton, I was going up the stairs, jumping past strewn shoes and slippers. The smell of soot and smoke was still rather over powering and I don't think I would have stayed on much longer. But just when I was ready to gag at the depressing sight, I met this sub-inspector who was part of the investigation. He assumed the role of showing me around. We ended up going to each and every office on each of the seven floors even as he kept telling me more about the incident; turned out M Manjunath was one of the first to get inside the building. Anyway, at the end of a two-hour long survey of the area, through soot ridden corridors and tragedy at every corner, I was exhausted.

After much procrastinating, the mood copy that came about was super, and I am sorry I say this with full immodesty. You can read it in this space a little later in the day, I don't want to put it up here before the newspaper reaches you :-) After a long long time, it felt good again to be a journalist, to be writing with that passion again.

I loved that part of having access to things you wouldn't normally have, I loved again the meeting new people part. Meeting this SI was nice too, I have never before spoken to anyone in the police force for any great length of time. It was interesting to exchange stories and that little part of our day with each other, one of those short little steps in time that you perhaps will never look back on, but that which leaves a little after taste in memory. For no apparent reason, I also thought of the Tamil movie Kaaka-Kaaka starring the yummy Surya. No, this person was nowhere close to Surya, by the way!

And then I thought and re-thought about going to a film screening that I had heard about from this very interesting person I met recently, named Anand Varadaraj. The mere thought of going back to those film studies days was what I consoled myself with though in the end. That reminds me, he has this company called Palador ( with some great movie offers and screenings throughout the year. Check it out.

The place where I met him was also another interesting experience, the Fireflies Festival of Sacred Music, organised some 30 kms from the city. It is an all-night affair with artists performing in the outdoors below a huge banyan tree, beside a lake. There are all kinds of music all night long and the audience sits around the tree in an amphitheatre kind of way. The festival was in its fifth year this time, a thoroughly enjoyable thing.

Imagine Sufi and Qawalli at 4 in the morning, Lounge Piranha and Vayali folk and a whole host of music. We stayed there till around 6 am. Interesting people, interesting times....Go next year.

And then later today I spoke to my friend Chetan, the actor. It has a nice ring to it, saying my friend Chetan, the actor. Again, I had met him on work a long time ago and contrary to my general view of those in the entertainment industry, he was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, a Fulbright scholar, Yale-educated and everything. We had an interesting conversation again, about non-formal education (why didn't my parents send me to one of those I wonder!) and learning from nature and tribals and Fukuoka.

That apart, on my mind is Rumi, the 11th century Afghan poet who makes me want to cry. Read him.

3 Idiots, the movie was good. And no, I didn't find much semblance to Five Point Someone.

Tomorrow, I go travelling down to the coast to moderate a panel discussion on terrorism! In Kannada! The things I get talked into!! Wish me luck in making a fool of myself there!

One long post indeed. But like I said, these have been very interesting times.

And now that I have spun enough, the pretty pink cotton candy (though I hate pink) is done for now. There is still much sugar left, for later.


Debby said...

I am your fan now. This was really good reading. I read this at a pub!

Deepa said...

Thank you!
And well, any place is a good place to read something good! LOL