June 24, 2010


Am at Ranchi right now, the birthtown I pretty much left twelve years ago. Am hoping to conduct three writing workshops with three different age groups at the International Library and Cultural Centre in July - if there are enough sign-ups. Have my fingers crossed. Am pretty excited about teaching at Ranchi, especially at ILCC, having spent many nerd-hours at and instigated by the collection at the British Library, ILCC's earlier avatar. It's been educative trying to determine whether or not to charge fees for these workshops - if I conduct them for free, how seriously will the Ranchi "gentry" take them? If we charge even a nominal fee, it might make them unaffordable for some young people - and I would very much like to circumvent this. My suggestion of a sliding scale is apparently not feasible here. Let's see how the library words the workshop announcement.

Meanwhile, the Raavan-bashing by so-called movie reviewers has left me pretty distressed about the standards of movie reviewing in India. All right, it is possible that something which works for me does not work for you - but shouldn't you at least try to find out why the film has been made - what is it trying to say - instead of calling it a "disaster" just because it is saying/doing something you didn't want or expect? Raavan is most definitely not interested in social realism - it is interested in style and spectacle, but more so in the seams and seaminess of the myths and meta-literature that people our imagination with ten-headed monsters and god-like heroes. It wants to put these myths and archetypes in crisis and show how, irrespective of head-count, Monster and God often turn into each other. It wants these crises to conduct us to the insides of a political landscape whose values allow the heroic Indian State to play a central role in perpetuating injustices on its land.

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