A Lovely Evening and A Book Launch (and the Solemn Launch of a Box of Cookies)

All this began when I told Glory I'll be coming to Chennai for a conference on 13th & 14th March, 2018. She said OK, and dropped the bombshell a couple of days later, when she said she'd organised a little gathering of the GloMag/Glorioustimes group on Sunday (the day I arrived). It was slightly disconcerting for I realised I wouldn't have time to shave and put on a clean shirt. But on the other hand the bedraggled appearance would convince people that I am an impecunious writer...

12th was a day full of tension as my train (11041 Dn Chennai Express which has nothing to do with Shah Rukh Khan or Deepika Padukone or Sathyaraj even and which emphatically does not go via Dudhsagar Waterfalls in Goa) which had started over 2 hours late was by now over 3 hours late. At 7 PM, when the GloMag group was assembling at The Lounge, Adyar, I was still at Tirupati. Govinda, Govinda!

But the train pulled in at Chennai Central at around 8 PM, I had summoned an Ola Cab, and raced to Glory. By 8:40 PM (I think) I was there, panting and being introduced by Glory to Nimi Kurian (Deputy Editor in The Hindu),  her husband Shridhar, the legendary Kerala Varma (whose posts on atheism and happiness I follow), Jagadish (the well-known TV actor), the author Sumita Dutta Shoam, Geeta Varma, Arora Ashok and Ali Babington. But as you can see in the picture, whoever may be present, once Glory is in the picture, she outshines them all.

LtoR: Sumita Dutta Shoam, Geeta Varma holding Ms. Shoam's just-launched book, Glory Sasikala Franklin, Kerala Varma and Mr. Jagdish 
 I was privileged to witness the launch of Sumita Dutta Shoam's novel 'The Heart of Donna Rai', followed by a reading of a chapter. Set in Bengal in Naxal times, it covers the clash of reality and idealism, childhood and emergent adulthood. You can read an extract here. The reading was followed by the even more exciting launch of a box of Cafe Coffee Day cookies by Shri Kerala Varma, to mirth and a complete unwinding of my tensed nerves.

Mr. Kerala Varma and Mr. Babington solemnly launch a box of cookies.
We followed this by an exercise in locating an Ola Cab who coudln't quite find us, meandering through Chennai traffic (which, despite the best efforts of its drivers, still flows, which cannot be said of Mumbai's traffic) to Chetpet, where we dropped off Keralaji. After which Glory treated me to a nice masala dosa dinner at Anna Nagar Hot Chips (next to the Anna Nagar Tower Metro station). And finally despatched me to her daughter-in-law Hanna and son Tennyson's house, where sleep finally found its victim.


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