My personal political leanings are un-popular. They’re not discriminatory or hateful but my right wing, the innocent have nothing to fear, ethos rarely goes down well with the general populous.
It was with some scepticism that I took my seat in the Queen Elizabeth Hall for the Arundhati Roy event. Don’t get me wrong, I expected intelligent conversation; I was just expecting to be able to dismiss it quite quickly.
After the introduction from our own Rachel Holmes, Shami Chakrabarti took her turn on the mic and with her endearing stutter and repetition introduced someone whom she clearly has a large amount of respect and reverence for.
The applause was rapturous and the traditionally dressed Arundhati cut a pure figure on stage. She moves with the presence of someone that is at peace with themselves and their endeavors.
During her reading and explanation of what the night would entail a faint smile played upon her lips. Her subject matter was dark, as she warned us, but the smile remained. Perhaps it was because there were no empty seats, perhaps because she harbored equal affection for Shami and perhaps because she was so jubilant about the gay rights developments in her homeland.
This smile was part of her allure. Along with belief, passion, intelligence and pithy delivery she made my beliefs crumble like soft rock. I’m not saying she completely changed my political alignment, or even had a long-term effect on the way I think, but through her monologues and discussions Arundhati Roy illuminated herself as the most esteem-inducing person I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in the flesh.
The lady I asked for a short review whilst waiting for my coat summed it up best ‘I’m afraid I can’t. It would be too superficial. I need to go digest. I was meant to be meeting friends but I’m just going to go home and contemplate’.
Mrs Chakrabarti was equally enchanting and I was honoured to record a short interview with her which will be uploaded soon. Arundhati just deserved her own post. This is much longer than anything I’d normally post but in truth I wouldn’t feel I’d done it justice, and I still don’t, if I’d done any less.
Filed under: London Literature Festival 2009 | Tagged: arundhati, chakrabarti, elizabeth, festival, hall, india, jayga, liberty, Literature, london, queen, Rachel Holmes, rayn, roy, shami, to, where, young curators | 2 Comments »