One of the pleasures of attending a literary event is serendipitously meeting authors whom you have admired in the audience. Last month, I had gone to a talk by Devdutt Pattanaik at Apparao Gallery where I was delighted to find that I was sitting next to Ranjitha Ashok, the author of ‘Chennai Latte: A Madras Brew’ – a small treasure of a book filled with vignettes of the many faces, old and new, of the city that I love. This book was one of my comfort reads during the days when I was working in a nondescript little town, missing Madras terribly and trying to fill the hometown shaped hole in my life with books.
Listening to Devdutt Pattanaik’s talk was taking a glimpse into the days of the wise bards and minstrels of yore who communicated verbally to their audience. I have read many of Pattanaik’s books and articles. I have used some of his mythological – management tips in my team meetings with great success. I have enjoyed listening to his conversations at literary festivals. But it was a different experience listening to him talk face to face to the audience who stood informally around him, as he explained how myths help to understand the meaning of life and business using his esoteric paintings of the three goddesses – Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga on background of the gallery walls.
It was a presentation that reached out to the audience at various levels – I came away inspired as a reader, a writer, a corporate professional and a seeker.