Rohinton Mistry steals the show with cowboy song
Author Rohinton Mistry, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Times Litfest, charmed the audience, both with his words and his singingon Sunday evening. The author, now based in Canada, aspired to become “Bombay’s Bob Dylan“ at one point.And it was so wonderful to hear him croon the legendary Mother India number, `Dukh bhare din beete re bhaiya‘ which left the audience quite moved.
“It is a cliché, but Rohinton will agree that it has been such a long journey for him,“ said festival director Bachi Karkaria, while handing Mistry, author of `Such A Long Journey’, the lifetime achievement award. “Mumbai is a promiscuous muse which has seduced many and angered many authors, but Mistry is different, not just because I am a Parsi,“ said Karkaria. “His relationship with the city is like a love poem, lyrical and searing.“ When Mistry was gifted a pen sponsored by a corporate, Karkaria threatened to keep it, saying he didn’t need another pen. “This one costs Rs 45,000,“ she said, and Mistry fished out his modest pen, requesting a barter in jest.
“A lifetime achievement award is a funny sort of thing, like a death or a funeral,“ said Mistry, opening his speech.“When an author gets one, it reminds me of his or her books. It is also the beginning of the end.“ Like his friends from other professions who had taken to writing when they retired, he now felt free to take up brain surgery or rocket science, he said. While talking about his yearning from Mumbai, the Ontario-based author took the crowd through his youth in Mumbai — the sixties and seventies — with its spinning gramophones and blunted needles, air-conditioned foreign libraries, the Beatles, flowery frocks and Enid Blyton. It was a Beatles LP that he had lent to a friend in Mumbai that made him realize his longing for home. “Remembering brings a benediction,“ concluded Mistry . “A delinquent loan is a blessing realized.“