Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My 15 Minutes of Fame

December 27.

Somehow, a lot of important people and many memorable events in my life revolve around this date. 26th is Raksha, the BFF's birthday, 27th is the other best friend Manju's and my favourite uncle's birthday. There are also many anniversaries in the extended family. New Year's close, its winter. I have all the reasons to like December and that particular date.

There is another one now. December 27th gave me my first 15 minutes of fame. Here is the full story:

You know how family can be; they sweet talk you into the most embarrassing of things. My parents and my uncle are super good with this. After my defence correspondent's course, before I knew it, I was almost coerced into agreeing to deliver a lecture at the annual function of the trust that the family has. Two months ago, it did not seem a big deal. Even last Friday, it didn't seem too frightening a prospect.

My late aunt, Mani Malini, was a writer, a very very good writer, the only 'writer' as such in the family, apart from me! (Wink, wink!) My uncle, also a well known personality in Kannada literary circles, established the Vasudha Pratishtana trust and every year, there are a few cultural programmes held under this banner. Every Dec 27, there is a ಹೇಮಂತ ಹಬ್ಬ (Hemantha Habba), a celebration of culture and literature with several writers, intellectuals and art lovers congregating at his lovely house in Panjala, near Puttur in the South Kanara district.

This Sunday was the second of this festival. Every year, achievers from various fields are honoured, there is a formal stage programme followed by a Yakshagana performance and then a lovely dinner. Much to my chagrin (it finally hit me a day before the event that I would be addressing my professors and writers that I have long admired, not a heartening prospect), I was to sit on stage with the other dignitaries throughout the event!

Well, all said and done, when my turn came to speak, I wasn't as scared as I thought I would be. There are some moments when you are concentrating so much that you don't quite notice the hundreds of pairs of eyes that are on you. This was one such moment. The title given to me was ಸರಹದ್ದಿನ ಸದ್ದುಗಳು of 'The Sounds of the Borders'. I know I could have done it much much better, but I was told I wasn't too bad either for the first time.

It was much appreciated. And you know what? I loved doing that. I loved being up there and talking. It is a heady feeling, the remarks, the appreciation, I loved all that. I know why literature and writing is so heady for some in my family. And you know what? I am ready now to take up the mantle.

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