It's sad but The Blue Met is coming to an end. The panels I attended today were low-key but also a good way to wrap up the weekend:
Celebration of Indian Writing: Face to Face with Bharati Mukherjee
One of India’s and America’s most well-known and provocative voices, Bharati Mukherjee’s prose has been called “laser precise and sharply witty”.
Like I was going to miss this chance to spend as much time as possible with Mukherjee. She read an except from her novel Desirable Daughters, which I read a long time ago so it was a good refresher. Turns out she has a new novel releasing soon -- Miss New India -- about a young Indian woman becoming involved with the "New India" or, that is, the new Indian culture emerging because of the emergence of a call centre culture. Mukherjee sometimes called the "New Indian" a "Faux American." But what really blew me away during the interview was the realization that Mukherjee was 71-years-old. She is so spry and witty and I love that she has lost none of her energy over time, and neither has her literature. She sets a good example!
Celebration of Indian Writing: India from the Outside
Four writers talk about writing on and experiencing India as outsiders becoming insiders. With Merrily Weisbord, author of the Charles Taylor shortlisted book, The Love Queen of Malabar, short story writer and long-term India-hand, Clark Blaise, and writer Sheila McLeod Arnopoulos, author of Saris on Scooters. Hosted by Deborah Baker, author of The Convert and A Blue Hand: The Beats in India.
This was a pretty low-key panel and a great way to end the festival. I wasn't taking much notes, just enjoying listening to these writers who stumbled into India out of love, fortune, or social activism. The real revelation emerged during the Q&A period when all the audience members realized that Deborah Baker, the host, is married to Amitav Ghosh -- so they chose an excellent host, someone who also has experience writing "India from the outside."
The festival was wonderful and I actually also met some great people and made new friends. I hope to go again next year!