Some way or another, poet and friend Vivek Narayanan and I figure we’re related. Some of his people hail from Besant Nagar in Chennai, as do mine, even sharing a street if not during the same decade in time. And his poetic alter-ego is a man named Mr. Subramanian. On a warm winter night we met up in Chennai with plans to see music. First we wandered on Eliots Beach, a place transformed with each return, more people, more glowing and squaking toys, more vendors selling roasted corn on the cob, rubbed with lime, chili and salt, which I have a serious weakness for. That kind is known as “normal,” though the new “American Sweet Corn” is also available. Oh, sorry, am I talking about food again? With my lips still numb from the chili and lime, Vivek led me into Spaces, a place I’ve walked by a hundred times yet never entered, though the granite posts that serve as a fence have always caught my eye. Inside, it is a space removed, the same peacefulness offered by the nearby Theosophical Society, where trees and the quiet space between them dominate, the sounds of the city set back, only the occasional roar of the Besant Nagar boys on their bikes speeding along the beach penetrated into our realm.
We were there to see other boys. More talented boys. Much more talented boys. [Read more…]