Saturday, February 16, 2008
The Kala Ghoda Festival just concluded at, where else, Kala Ghoda. Well there used to be a Kala Ghoda (Black Horse) here -- though I haven't seen it -- carrying the supreme behind of HRH Edward IV or some such dignitary of yesteryears. As one who is drawn to this area of Mumbai, having worked there close to four years of my life, and having passed the area every morning close to a quarter of my life time, this area has a deep resonance as far as art, literature, culture (though I am not the culture-vulture type), eating, etc. are concerned. I have sat at the old "Woodside Inn" and ate, I have seen art shows by Husssein and Souza, I have drank the potion at Samovar and Paris Craze (which is now "Soul Fry Casa" or some such), I have seen movies at the Stuttgart Hall at the Max Mueller Bhavan and ogled girls of an agency that specialised in employing only good looking girls. Well I have done it all, and more.
So imagine my surprise when I land up in this festival and find that instead of a festival of the Western type this one was our typical Indian "Kumbh Mela" with giant wheels and sculptures of a man and a horse. Wherever we go we generate a lot of noise and this crowd was generating a noise equal to several trains arriving at Victoria Terminus simultaneously. And there were fighting calendar sellers, book sellers, curio sellers, ice cream and gol gappa sellers, the works!
What warmed the innards was the literary section tucked into the David Sassoon Library garden (I am a life member of this library and was a managing committee member once). At the poetry slam pictured above, one could see heart-felt poetry being recited and sung with theatrical gestures and improvisations. Arka Mukhopadhyaya wore a smallish drum around his neck, which he beat sporadically. A good time was had by poetry lovers. Actually as Rashmi Dhanwani said, "It isn't an audience, audience, but friends and relations of the performers." To cut this long rambling short the friends and family of the performers (yes my friends were on stage too) had a good time.