among good men…

I've been reading good books all my life, but desultorily, reading only for the mood they bring upon me: I haven't the intellect to rise to mental engagement with the writer. So I've lurked and watched from a distance how intellectuals fence and embrace, and I've not had courage to step forward toward them. Yesterday, I went along with one great writer—Rasheed—who had arranged a meeting with that giant in Kannada literature—U.R. Ananthamurthy.

The man opened the door himself, we sat in his study for a while, and then he decided we should sit in his back-garden. He is fond of Rasheed and respectful of his writing. The talk ranged over many topics: the pure anger of Ramdas; linguistics and text beneath text; Lankesh and Tejaswi, Karanth and Kuvempu; writer's discipline and of those who have it; the magazine Granta. I delighted in the conversation between these learned men. Later, we spoke excitedly of some ideas. He fueled more thought, stoked our ideas—they crackled and multiplied. Now when I make notes of the meeting, my remembrances are of an aged hand that was warm and strong when it gripped mine in yesterday's chilly breeze at his door, his offer to make tea, the intensity of his conversation which made all forget tea, his watchful observant eyes that rested gently on whom he addressed, and his slow short elder's steps with us to the door where he realized he had forgotten to make tea. At the moment of departure his arm was heavy and relaxed across my shoulders, his gaze fatherly upon Rasheed.

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