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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Strange things have happened on my panels before. Writers have fallen in love, writers have fallen out of love, writers have wanted to make love, in one instance, one very famous author tripped and fell, another had the mike fall in his lap. The wine has resulted in slurry speech and even slurrier thoughts.

But never before has a very, very famous author wanted to pronounce judgment on the state of my teeth.

Nury Vittachi has already narrated the story
'VIKRAM SETH doesn’t have a reputation for being easy-going, and referred to himself during an on-stage interview as someone who used to be “touchy”.

But he won the hearts of the crowd at the Sri Lanka festival. He was treated like a rock star, with huge mobs attending his every move, and he responded by providing high grade entertainment.

At one point, he told an entertaining story about a relative who was a one-armed dentist. To illustrate the challenges involved, he put his arm around the head of moderator Deepika Shetty and duly inspected her back molars.

What the author didn’t know – but many of the rest of us did – was that Singapore journalist Ms Shetty has just completed a lengthy dental treatment which involved carrying around a quarter of a ton of metal in her mouth for more than a year. Thus his good reports about her dentition carried great weight.'

Shelley Keningsberg has captured the sequence of events which started when we were talking about 'Two Lives' and the conversation veered towards Uncle Shanti and Aunty Henny. Seth was trying to explain what the loss of Uncle Shanti's right arm [he lost it during the war] meant. He paused to ponder, the next minute, he was up and about;

'Deepika, will you let me examine your teeth'

Sitting at the Hall de Galle stage, with a crowd of 500 in attendance, it was impossible to run for cover, so I responded....
'Vikram, if only I knew this was going to happen, I would have been sure to brush my teeth.'
'Don't worry,' he assured me, 'I won't reveal the state of your inners to anyone.'

He was as good as his word, he didn't. While the teeth look a tad too perfect now, there is an offending molar. I'll be sure to fix, before I meet Vikram next.

For those of you who haven't heard it, he is due to appear at the Ubud Writers Festival next. Be sure to look out for the dates in September/October.

You can take it from everyone who has met him, heard him, read him, taken a picture with him, Seth is worth your airfare.

Till then, enjoy these....

A thinking dentist...

Gets ready for the dental examination....

The way it works from the right...

Now, for the left...

Someday, I'll laugh about it too....

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