Sunday, December 16, 2007

rock you like a hurricane

On page 101 of my novel my “unnamed narrator” (who everyone wrongly assumes is me) is driving around Shillong at night with his friends. It is drizzling, the streets are deserted, and they are drinking beer and listening to the Scorpions. I have lost touch with my unnamed narrator ever since I was done with the novel, but I am sure he was at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong’s Polo Ground on the evening of December 12th, to catch the German rock band’s first concert of their 2008 world tour.

A whole generation that grew up in Shillong has fond memories of the Scorpions’ music, especially as the soundtrack to many a drinking session; songs like Always Somewhere, Holiday, No One Like You, Still Loving You and In Trance made many a beer taste better, made many a drive more memorable. They may have come to Shillong 20 years too late, but from what my friends who were there told me, they more than made up for it.

Anushree Majumdar, the correspondent from the Indian Express who did a story on me last month, was in Shillong for the concert too. Maybe she even bumped into my narrator at the JN Stadium. I was in office in Delhi, working at the fag end of a 6-month-long project; a friend called me from the venue while the Scorpions were playing their Bad Boys Running Wild. I was at the same venue in December 2004 for the Firehouse concert; that show was great, but it seems this one was even better. I wish I could have been there.

I was at the India Habitat Centre on Friday evening for the Young Writers programme that was part of the ongoing Delhi International Arts Festival; will put up a post about that in a day or two.

Anjum Hasan, whom I mentioned in my last post, has a sister called Daisy Hasan whose first novel The To-Let House will be published early next year by Tara Books from Chennai. Like Anjum’s novel, Daisy’s novel is set in Shillong too. Daisy, who came across my blog while googling her sister’s book, sent me a link to a review of Anjum’s poetry collection Street on the Hill that was published in 2006 by the Sahitya Akademi. There are three poems on that page, and I really liked what I read, especially the one called Mawlai: it took me back to the solitary pursuit of reading in Shillong when I was young, to the ever-changing clouds in a blue sky and the wind coming through the pine trees on a hillside. Here’s wishing Anjum and Daisy all the best for their novels.

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