Saturday, February 13, 2016

Poetry Reading – Feb 10, 2016

We had eight regular readers and two guests who read poems at the first Poetry session of the year. It was the first to be attended by a toddler:

 Babe Ruth

The poets were from all over the globe. Our own Talitha was read by her mother, Sheila Cherian. There were poems by Americans, a Romanian, several Indians, Britishers, and even a French poet in translation.

Zakia, Talitha, baby Ruth, Deepti, Pamela

Poetry can be sad, it can be funny
It can provoke laughter, but will it ever make money?

Shoba, Saras, Thommo

 It can subvert dictatorship
And promote linguistic scholarship

Sheila Cherian

Elves from Middle Earth's axis
Can contend with a proud man's proboscis

Sheila; Shehnaz briefing Deepthi on the Date Nut cake recipe 

In Tamil regions a bully may wink and smile
But old familiar faces are out of style

Thommo & Zakia

Rabbi and rabboni from the Middle East
Can travel the sidewalk that ends in Midtown East

Talitha, Deepthi, baby Ruth

Three persons may be found in you and me
That's what he says, the poet Seshadri

Thommo, Zakia, and baby Ruth

But tender pink foot-soles will never be slapped,
Until, in nylon, women's legs come wrapped

It was an exhilarating session; we cannot end without stimulating our salivary glands once again for the wonderful date-nut cake we had. Thank you, Shehnaz!

Here we are gathered at the end for our customary group portrait:

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Satyajit Ray — Adventures of Feluda, Jan 20, 2016

Satyajit Ray (SR) was an unusual choice, being known primarily as a film-maker. However he has a body of Bengali writing – detective stories, science fiction, and short stories – translations of which are available in English, a few by Ray himself. Several have been made into films and comic books.

Saras & Gopa, both garden lovers in KumKum's garden

But SR was much more than a film-maker. He was an artist with a keen eye and imagination to design advertisements (his first trade after graduating from Santiniketan). Later he went on to design type-fonts in Bengali and English scripts, and then became the internationally recognised film-maker with the Apu trilogy comprising Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) and Apur Sansar (1959).

Epitaph on Job Charnock's Tomb in St. John's Church compound,Kolkata

Preeti who recommended the stories recalls them fondly from her youthful reading. She selected five stories for our reading but many readers could not resist delving into the rest for the entertainment and excitement they afforded. The stories are addictive, just like the Sherlock Holmes stories. SR confessed to his wife that having to keep of sex and violence denied him as an author the full creative licence (the stories were originally written to appear in the children's magazine, Sandesh, started by his grandfather). His own father, Sukumar Ray, was also a well-known author of children's stories and nonsense verse.

Shoba, Preeti, Talitha, KumKum having tea

This being the first reading session of the year KumKum invited the readers home for tea and snacks. Sunila (wife of Sunil) made a lovely orange cake and mini-idlis for us. Some pictures of the readers enjoying the convivial gathering are here.

Saras, Priya, Thommo, Sunil at tea 

At the end the readers posed for a closing shot here below – it was the largest gathering we have ever had at a session.

Kavita, Zakia, Priya, Sunil, Gopa, Shoba, Preeti, Thommo Talitha (standing), Shehnaz, KumKum, Saras, Philo, Mrs Sheila Cherian (sitting)

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