Monday, April 20, 2015

'50 Not Out' Meets 'Third Man' and Krishna Sastry Devulapalli - Chennai Book Event

Asvita Bistro is a cosy place in Alwarpet, not far from Park Sheraton. It has much to offer - a cute restaurant, an open space that seats about 40 that they let out for literary and other cultural events, a high fashion store - its really nice energy. As part of opening up the place for literary events Asvita Bistro offered the space to an evening conceived by Krupa Ge, writer, journalist and young friend - an interaction between the authors of two cricket books (Ram and I) facilitated by Krishna who would as always provide a welcome break from the tedious world of cricketing lessons and memories. The event was fixed for the 15th of April. Here's the invite designed by the multi-faceted Swaroop Mamidipudi - lawyer, illustrator, writer which I forgot to post on the blog before the event.
Invite to event - Designed by Swaroop M
Krishna, Chitra and I started early, picked up Bharath, and landed at Asvita. The Jaico team was there with many copies of 50 Not Out - Sivaraman and Koteeswaran. My local friends turned up  - Alagiri and Vasudha, Rags, Anil and Lalitha, Krish Srikanth, David Wesley and for good measure Prince Frederick who writes well for The Hindu. Ram came with Gowri who had just won an award for her contribution to theatre and soon we were all set to start. Krupa introduced us and Krishna took over with a disclaimer - his knowledge of the game and his musings over the abdomen guard. The audience relaxed a bit and so did we and we proceeded to talk about whatever we pleased.
Krupa introducing us
Ram spoke of his book. I read from mine - a piece on 'Patience' which was apt because Bharath brought it up while we were driving to the place and also because it contains one of my favorite stories - of Mr. Devidas and his 'Let's see' philosophy. His nephew Anil was in the audience so it was only fitting - though I did not expect Anil to say he had tears in his eyes when I read that part. But truth be told, even if the others didn't notice, there was a lump in my throat too as I read that and it surprised me as well.
All set to go

Ram spoke with his customary candor and clarity about the old days. Krishna kept it relevant and fun and asked us the right questions that the audience perhaps may have wanted to know. Why we wrote the books, how we all knew met one another, how the game has evolved etc.
Me reading from '50 Not Out'
Krishna was generous in his praise - and said that we were both very generous human beings. Ram also read out bits from my book which he said made sense. He also said, in reply to Krishna's question about my writing, that my honesty comes through clearly and that I was a good storyteller (referring to The Men Within). When my turn to comment on Ram's writing the attention got shifted a bit and I could not put in my two words but I can make amends here - his writing is of high quality and it comes across, his attention to detail and his gathering of old and forgotten facts is phenomenal and his love and passion for the game, writing and life in general comes across in his writing. Ram is a good writer, and one of the few great cricketing writers.
Ram reading from his book 'Third Man'
Krishna was his usual self and added much fun to everyone's life with his sharp wit and humour. He is one of those people you cannot get tired of seeing because he does have this capability to say something so funny and wicked that you cannot but laugh - Krishna cannot help himself - he is that way. I am glad we have the Krishna's in our world else we would take ourselves too seriously (I am so glad I have him on my list of friends and I intend to keep him). I think making people laugh is the biggest contribution anyone can make to this world - its right at the top - and people who do that should be honored with the biggest awards and recognitions. Krishna would definitely qualify with his novels, speeches, stand up acts, plays, talks, conversations, articles.
This is how it must have looked from behind
There was talk about how much money we made during our playing days and the comparison to what the IPL players make these days, whether we feel depressed (no way!), how Ram came out of his distress after giving up the game and so on. Ram reminisced several interesting anecdotes of his days with the Pataudis and Jaisimhas and their pranks. Overall it was a fun evening. I enjoyed it. I think all three of us on stage enjoyed it. The audience I interacted with said that they enjoyed it too so I guess it was all worth the trouble.
View from the audience
Thanks Asvita Bistro, thanks Krupa and Swaroop, thanks Krishna and Chitra for putting me up and for a wonderful couple of days, Ram for being there and all of you for coming.

No comments: