Wednesday, March 03, 2004

It's true that V.S. Naipaul writes with a mean pen, that his sense of repartee is unique like the man himself but it is obvious that if it weren't for the presence of Nadira Naipaul, "Vidya" would have been "lost".

A few observations at the Tehelka inaugural lecture: The minute Naipaul handed over his fine hat to the lady, it was a signal for her to take charge. And like a field Marshall Lady Naipaul "expertly" handled the horde of photographers with a stern, "He won't talk until you leave the scene". They left of course amidst a shattering applause.

Then there was this regrettable instance when an enthusiastic fan opted to sit in front when Naipaul had just about started reading excerpts from India: A Wounded Civilization. To everybody's embarrassment he wailed dramatically saying, "Why do you do this to me? I am not a record. I can't go on. You have to listen to me".

For a minute there was an uncomfortable silence. Then Lady Naipaul gently patted "Vidya's" hand and the rest of the evening went smoothly.

-- From a delightfully gossipy account of the inaugural Tehelka lecture, delivered by V.S. Naipaul the other day in Bangalore, posted on

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