I met a lot of interesting people today.
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My friend Jayashree Govindarajan put me in touch with Nidhi Manoj and Reshmi Chakraborti, who have been, for the past two years, running an e-magazine called Silver Talkies , for those above 55 years of age, Today (7th March, 2014) Silver Talkies, along with Suchetadhama (run by Shanthini Dawson) and artist Paul Fernandes’ gallery of Curious Memories, held their maiden event, “Art, Coffee and Conversation”, at the gallery, with high tea at The French Loaf, situated in a heritage house across the road.
The idea was to share thoughts and discussions, and see how Paul Fernandes has presented the Bangalore of the past in his illustrations and cartoons.
About 15 people gathered at the gallery, and Ramona Webber gave them a quick introduction to the art of Paul Fernandes, as the artist himself watched. The group browsed around the gallery, and were happy to pick up several souvenirs, such as a coffee table book, coasters, and similar items which feature Paul Fernandes’ cartoons.
Some of the people had been born and brought up in Bangalore; for them, it was a nostalgic trip into the past. For others, who have come to Bangalore to live, it was a pleasant visit to Bangalore’s past. Paul himself addressed a few words to the gathering, and smilingly fielded comparisons to Mario Miranda. He told me how he was in advertising and drew the cartoons of this city with humorous details as a hobby, to begin with. He laughingly illustrated how older people can sometimes not keep up with modern technology, with an anecdote about his mother, who’s 88. When told about FaceBook, she asked, “Can you get me a copy of Facebook from Gangarams?”
He works mainly with watercolours; and prefers to have a physical gallery of the prints of his work. However, his son Tarun is building a website for him. Here is an interview with the artist. The informal gathering continued at The French Loaf, where Shantini, Reshmi and Nidhi encouraged everyone to introduce themselves and interact.
The ladies were very forthcoming (more so than their spouses!) and I learnt that one ran a knitting-unusual-garments business, another ran NRIPA (Non-Resident Indians Parents Association) for those whose children live abroad; yet another had written a cookbook on Konkan cuisine which is now into its second edition.
The gathering dispersed only with the thought of the long rides home in the evening traffic. I continued chatting afterwards, and had a very interesting conversation about the care of the elderly, especially when they suffer from progressive mental illnesses; about the running of an e-magazine, balancing it with running a household and bringing up children; about the mission to bring older people together, and support those who are caring for dependent parents.
The Listening Post is a (closed) FaceBook group , for the elderly, and for caregivers. To join, please send a request on https://www.facebook. com/groups/TLPSupport
Do check out Silver Talkies online…and when you can, visit the A-paul-ogy gallery and look at the work of Paul Fernandes, which will take you down memory lane or historical days, depending on how long you’ve lived in the city!