''Mumbai is my maddening muse''

Apr 09, 2014, 10:40 IST | Nevin Thomas

This Sunday, attend a session with acclaimed poet, translator and novelist Sampurna Chattarji on Mumbai, a place she describes as — “A shape-shifting island of lights”

Junoon, an organisation that strives to increase the influence of arts in the society, will provide an opportunity to interact with renowned poet and novelist Sampurna Chattarji this Sunday, through their community arts initiative, Mumbai Local. The author who has 11 books to her credit, including poetry collections like Sight May Strike You Blind and Absent Muses, will be speaking of her obsession with the city as more than just a ‘place’ at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla, in the event, The City is a Beast.

The author will talk about her obsession with Mumbai as more than just a ‘place’. Pic/ Shadab Khan

Speaking to the guide, Chattarji explained how she shares an intense relationship with the city and how it has had a huge impact on her writing. “It’s my maddening muse, without which the stories in Dirty Love (as well as so many of my poems) would never have been written,” she says.

The event will comprise of readings from the author’s own works, which includes fiction and poetry, followed by an interactive session with the audience through which she hopes to share some of her experiences of living in the city and provide a peek into the ‘writerly process’, the way in which living material transforms into words.

When asked about the reason behind naming the event, The City is a Beast, she explains how the city could be simultaneously hideous and wonderful in the way that it challenges and changes you. “The heroism and pitifulness of human endeavour, the almost inhuman pressure of surviving — all of that coalesced for me in the figure of the ‘beast’,” she says.

The event is an ideal opportunity for Mumbaikars to interact with the author, and share their thoughts and ideas about the city.

On: April 13, 5 pm
At: Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Dr Ambedkar Road, Byculla.
Entry: Free (seating on a first-come-first-serve basis)

Highs and lows
Like about Mumbai: I like the fact that it gives you the space to be yourself.

Don’t like about Mumbai: I do not like its pretensions and snobberies, especially those that are based on location, and where you live. I find that hilarious.

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