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In my old blog account (with Blogspot), this post was the most popular. That’s because when you search for Heggodu in Google, the post’s listed second, next only to a Wiki entry. I thought it was appropriate to review my post and also remember the culture camp, when around Vijayadashami every year, it is scheduled.

The camp

In 2005, we were the first people to walk into Neenasam, a full day before the event started. Preparations were on and people around there were always cordial, something that didn’t ever change. October is still part of the rainy season and it would rain occasionally. The dense areas of trees were only separated by small pathways. Vehicles were scarce and you could walk long distances without encountering a loud voice.
Perhaps it was this pleasantness that made you like the event itself. The main auditorium where all the talks are held has such exquisite ambiance that it adds to the entire experience. If queuing for the toilet early in the morning was a pain, we ended up finding a secret toilet. If despite the silent euphoria you felt sleepy in a lecture, you could always walk up to the small shops a few paces away and just chill over a mango drink. The evenings were very happening as the average “go to sleep” time in the dormitories would be not less than 11:30 in the night.
Young men, old boys and older men discussed what they liked or hated about the day in the camp. Never did it boil over to ugliness and I don’t remember it spilling onto someone’s lecture the next day either. The first play I saw there, called Pathargithi Pakka, still appears as a commendable effort. The music and choreography, I remember, made it a spectacle.
All this was in the first year. Something had changed the next time. Most speakers there had a clear leftist leaning. They never seemed to hide it either, but always came across as honest and focussed. In the second season, there was none of the focus. Honesty, I can’t comment on, but they were just terribly off the mark. A significant majority of the audience had been teenagers early in their college lives and they were being treated to the speakers’ own prejudices. It being an influential age for all those boys and girls, it seemed unfair for them to be treated to sermons. It was when the “culture” in the camp excused itself. Politics was running the show.
The plays too had been a pain. That people defended low-brow productions for their “accessibility” was an even bigger affront. I ended up counting my days at the camp in 2006.
I haven’t gone there again, initially for other reasons, but now for lack of interest. I was told 2007 turned quite ugly with some criticisms and counter-criticisms. I find this very strange. In one year the difference had been way too stark. Some of the virtues that were promoted by the camp, was being lost by it. It is quite possible that since the first year was so good that anything after that would fall way short of expectations. Hope that is the reason. Hope the later years have been much better. Hope there is more to look forward to than the quiet of the streets and the rains of October.

The account

What was I writing!
“Pregnant with poignancy”, “serene study of the unconsciously accepted corruption of Kannada”, “speaking with energy and gusto”. Damn! Can’t believe I wrote these. There are so many things I’ve changed in my writing, for better or worse, it is embarrassing to read some of the old posts. While browsing through such posts I found that I’d used words like “bunged” and “extolled” somewhere. Yuck!
“Juxtaposition” is also a word I wouldn’t want to use again. “Journalist-cum-photographer-cum-theater person”: Let me just say that if I were to write it now, I’d prefer, “journalist-photographer-theater person”. Another irritating part is the use of “one”: “one feels”, “one says”, “one is not happy”. Do I really want to replace a pronoun with “one”? One is confused.
Some of the good things in this write-up is my “ripping-apart” of a Shakespeare adaptation. That showed good form. I was also impressed with Shiv Vishwanathan’s Panopticon speech and I still like how I wrote about it.
There is something I forgot in the article which needs mention. The troupe brought by Chandralekha had a dancer called Tishani Joshi. I don’t know why I missed writing about her, but it makes sense now to remind you that she was the one who wrote on Cricinfo during the IPL.
So, that’s done. Getting two posts in a day when there were none. Also, one has given oneself an opportunity to get two more posts two years later. As you might notice, one is not going into labour with ideas, one is not even pregnant with them.

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