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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

11 January, 2005

Report On The First Readmeet At Pune 2005

This was was the long awaited collaborative readmeet with caferati and open space coming together like colliding galaxies [the great thing is, there is no collding, since they pass through each other seamlessly].

On a cool wintry evening we gathered on the fifth floor of a quiet building. Introdutions were to be made differently, since peoply shyly censor a lot about themselves-but an influx of new faces made us abandon this idea i.e. friends introducing their close friends.

Caferati@Pune is encouraging informal meets before the readmeets so that the general ambience thickens into a deeper shade of friendliness. About 31 participants were there when the readmeet kicked off with Mr. Ramgopal Rao reading out four of his older poems. He gave us a detailed account of what sort of mental frame he had when he penned the poems. Very well received, as his reading is lucid and melliflous.

Akshay M. read out a rather touching account of a lady and a dog staying with him and interacting with him. It was written in a style described as psychedelic for want of a more accurately descritive word and heads nodded in silent agreement. Poems of serious nature were read by a guest from Delhi who had another companion reading another poem.

Pranay Srinivas next read out a collaborative piece that he had cooked up after a lunch at Atreyee's place, a sort of dialogue between a man with a long scar on his hand and a mole on the other side. He appeared reluctant to talk about these identification marks, though he talked till the very end. Quite well received.

Sonia Menezes read a long story which she said was a short story entitled Wednesday Afternoon. As she had lost her voice a few days back, she asked Avi Das to read out for her. It is always better to let a female writer's story to be read by a male voice, Manisha had told us earlier. This was all about a domestic servant and her travails in the house, with more characters joinging in. There was a slew of queries that Sonia fielded quite confidently.

So we had two guests from Bombay, Pranay and Avi, and another guest from Hyderabad, Rakhee.

As per my announcement, there was ample discussion after every piece and I had to intervene to cut short some very passionate outpour so that we could finish off the readmeet well before the deadline. We did that but I had to snip off my story, since time was up and Open Space employees had come on a holiday to help us out.

More than 20 members have been coming regularly. Non-reading listeners included Archana D., Harshavardhini, Nyssa [Rucha Gokhale] -her first readmeet-, Maitreyee Desai, another Maitreyee, Major Uday Sathe and another ten new faces with Open Space connections.

All told, quite a rocking meet.

cheers !


Blogger Prakriti said...

Sonia's story was called "5 cloudy days", not Wednesday afternoon. And it was not about a domestic servant and "her" travails in the house! ( I mean, helloooo!). It was about a single guy living in the city getting confronted with the choice between a conscientious decision and the voice of reason! The parakeet alongside provided an interesting backdrop throughout.

And somehow, Max always conveniently forgets to mention me!

11 January, 2005 17:04  
Blogger Prakriti said...

Not to mention that the title should have been "Report on the first readmeet of the year 2005,at Pune".

11 January, 2005 17:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the Read Meet in Pune at all, to begin with? :)))

And, WAS there a Read Meet at all???

12 January, 2005 00:50  
Blogger Geetanjali said...

Sounds like it was quite a success - sigh the 3rd Caferati meet I'm missing in a row now: the Bbay meet (I read the Tehelka report btw - damn cool), then the Xmas rendezvous, and now Open Space ....ah well, hope I'm still counted as one of the regulars ;-)

Until next time - Vive Caferati!

13 January, 2005 10:25  
Blogger Max Babi said...

Hi Prakriti,
Pretty good nitpicking!
Lets make you the moderator next time...
The story Sonia sent me had the title I have used.

Geetanjali you are still very much in, please
contact Sonia or Vinod to join the googlegroup,
we are forming a coregroup to organise further
readmeets and other exciting events.

Anonymous, wake up.
The readmeet annoucement by Sunil was at the
caferati mainpage for aeons. But then, how
to inform an anonymous entity? Thru' a ghost web?

Cheers to the jeering ones too !

13 January, 2005 13:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Max...

Rather taken aback at your write-up on the readmeet- a little disappointed.

You did not mention the very well written piece Naked Democracy by Prakriti Pusp-which drew it's allusion on the Emperor's New Clothes questioning the way media can get away unquestioned parading false fronts since most people would rather not be discerning and see the naked truth that they are being taken for a ride.He contributes to the blog called MediaBitch. It was a very lucid and well-knit piece.

You did not mention the faculty from Symbiosis Institute of Management who read 3 very interesting poems-one was on an old village woman stitching a quilt , the other remininiscing his Delhi college days- short and unsentimental and objectively observed.There was a hilarious love poem written in management school lingo.

Akshay read a piece called Eva- laced in the surreal. Tightly managed in three pages. It was on a mental trip taken off from the shrinks couch.A day dream in sensual evening tones graded in dark velvets and silks of a mysterious seductress .Viciously and boredly suggests it's better to fantasise on the bitch than listen to the flat repetitive caricature who monotonously asks him to take his pills.There's boredom and flippancy in reverting back to real-time- as if it just took a remote control click to do that.LSD is mentioned somewhere and one is left with a chilling feeling of do we really know what the guy in front of us nodding away really thinking?

Sonia Menzes meandered a bit with her long short story but took a lot of beating sportingly .Was her story about what you thought it was aboutMax?I am aghast!It must be the sound systems -there was none!

Two books which Avi endorsed - called "Writing Down the Bones" and "Wild Mind" by Natalie Goldberg is a treat for writers as a reference and work book. Thanks Avi!I think it is well worth noting. I have personally benefitted from them.

Ram Gopal Rao read 4 poems from his student days in the United States where he converted to Christianity .The poems were replete with Biblical allusions from the New Testsament -deeply questioning the interpretation of Christ's original ideology and whether the current Western worldview was living up to it in spirit and not just the form. Very mature poetry from the early seventies-he said that a deep personal quest was fulfilled in turning to Christ from his original orthodox Brahmin background.It was refreshing to hear such good poetry.
Pranay Srinivasan did some live writing which he sportingly shared -though he had only plans to listen.The idea was to write non-stop on a topic in first person. I asked him to write from his own person- a scar on his hand and a mole . I told him how Vaikom Mohammed Basheer's in "Me Grandad 'ad an Elephant" had spun a masterpiece on a girl with a mole who was told since childhood that the mole was her inheritance reminding her always that her grandad once upon a time was grand enough to own an elephant.Pranay-interestingly -spoke about the scar without speaking about it.This piece was more interesting then the one on the mole.

By the way Max did you mix me up with the other Maitreyee???
I'll post the ones I read on the blog-3 poems already on the board.

True many of the others could not read. It was a real pity because of time constraints. Open Space-a media resource centre supporting alternates specially in rural developmental , gender and child related issues-had a theatre workshop right after.

Max and Nino were the co-ordinators. Wish there was more time so that Nino could read a sensitive piece called Red.

This is how I saw the read meet.


13 January, 2005 22:03  
Blogger Prakriti said...

Max, if you think nitpicking is what a moderator is supposed to do, well obviously I still have a lot to learn from you about moderating a meet.
As far as my limited understanding of reporting on a read meet goes, it should report on what happened in the actual read-meet rather than about things that were available only to the moderator before hand. Frankly speaking, I do not at all understand or agree to the whole concept of people posting their entries to the moderator before hand, and then he screening the entries. I mean, having people self declare the amount of time they are likely to take is a much better indicator than the moderator selecting the entries based on his own sweet will, as we quite saw in the recently concluded read-meet. Despite the beautiful screening and co-ordination by the moderator, he himself could not read his entry.

As far as cheers to jeers are concerned, it's a personal observation that reports come out better when you are sober.

14 January, 2005 13:17  
Blogger Max Babi said...

Hi Prakriti, Maitreyee,

I think all these long comments are unnecessary
in light of the fact that the acoustics were indeed
appalling and I mixed up a lot of new faces with names.
Sorry about that. Also my report this time was more
for reporting an event not a literary dissection nor

It is a heartening sign that so many of you are rather
concerned about the quality of work rather than quantity
as aptly pointed out by Dr.Behram who never visits this blog nor the board... but he said what you all also are saying here.

Time management on my part was horrid, I must say but I came away feeling great because we could comment on the work and not have a ceaseless slew of new work pouring in. That part was good. I suggest the coregroup take over the entire management of caferati@Pune readmeets and thus allow me and Nino to read out stuff too. May be I should not have sacrificed our pieces ! Overall the collaboration between caferati and Open Space did not seem very inspiring.

I also suggest you all take the discussions to the board and allow this unbroken serenity at the blog to run on without an eruption. Please. I will reply.
Cheers !

14 January, 2005 16:49  

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