And that would explain why, when I saw the invite for a tweet up, it was an easy exception to make to my otherwise steadfast stance against tweet ups and reserve a place to meet the Minister of Status.
That’s in spite of generally having some harmless fun at his expense on a regular basis – from his non-accommodating stance on the 5 star stay to the now famous gaai-rights issue (actually wrote a couple of solidarity tweets on the latter to make up for the others)
The seeming flippancy in that attitude perhaps belies the enormous amount of admiration and respect I have for the author. The Great Indian Novel is probably my all time favourite work, simply because its satire and humour work on multiple levels. The more layers you can unravel through lateral thought and associations made, the more gems you can find. As my About page would indicate, I love wordplay, jest like that. TGIN, in my book, is THE benchmark, not just for wordplay and humour, but for the sheer imagination and brilliance that connected two seemingly disconnected streams almost seamlessly.
These days, I see around me, in the real world, politicians who can talk drivel for hours, boring the audience to premature death. I also see, in virtual world, authors and celebrities struggling with the expectations raised by their audience on real-time platforms – the result often being repeats of old jokes, terrible wordplay, banality, and a general discomfort stemming from the heightened interaction.
The tweet up. There was a palpable energy in the place, and the place almost exploded when the organisers announced that the much anticipated message had come from upstairs, and they were ready to start… serving coffee and biscuits. We came back after getting our coffee, and waited inside the audi for Mr.Tharoor, disappointed at not being allowed to bring our coffee in, but then in he came, in black and white, and made our woe seem insignificant, with his coughing. Hmm, I couldn’t be sure, but the front row possibly had coffees. (#9). And so I sat, flanked by two other Mallus – Nikhil, and Balu (who’d made it a point to arrive after Shashi Tharoor, just so we understood who was more busy ) wondering how a favourite, whose work I worshiped, would fare.
As you can see, he was favouring the right, and the centre, until a lady seated behind me forced him to answer a question from our side. I wondered aloud if he always ignored the left thus, but though my neighbours heard it, sadly he didn’t. I’d have loved a repartee. I noted that we had similar workplace issues, as Twitter was banned in the MEA too. Meanwhile, our friend Nikhil, (who claims he was) one of the voters who elected Mr.Tharoor to the parliament, had a political googly question for him. But he managed to answer it satisfactorily too.
He talked about occasions when he was asked to explain Twitter to his colleagues, and the advice to him to stop tweeting if he valued his political career. But as he said, he doesn’t like being told he can’t do something. He explained his twitter habits – following, answering questions on Twitter, and the balance he has to maintain while sharing with the world a minister’s life. He was asked about his writing plans, to which he answered that the current job keeps him too busy to write, and not just to write, but to create that space in the mind, which can be populated with people and instances that have nothing in common with his daily life. So for now, The Great Indian Novelist is reduced to the limitations of a git (great indian twitterer) – 140 char.
And thus, thankfully, he didn’t disappoint, and i sat, listening in rapt admiration, as the man displayed his ease with the language, bringing a smile and making us LOL, with witty answers to even the most banal of questions. Yes, there were quite a few of those too. But thankfully there were the opposite kind too, which got him to talk about the working of his ministry, and future plans. I could throw in erudite, polished, confident and similar adjectives as descriptions for him, but a master craftsman is usually beyond adjectives. (as anyone who saw that jaw-dropping 175 would vouch for)
Though he had arrived a bit earlier than announced at the venue (the twitvite said 3, when the actual time was 3.30, but the reason for that is easy to guess, so I wouldn’t complain), we still had only an hour, and it passed very quickly. But it was undoubtedly, fun!! So, finally everyone posed for photos,
(guy in grey-blue striped t-shirt, asked the best questions)
and somewhere in between I accomplished the other thing I’d come for.
until next time, end of gushy Tharoor post
ST RTs !!