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Coffee and conversation with Anita Desai in Mumbai

December 4, 2007

A fit young gentleman, dressed in a freshly pressed suit, bent down low to touch Anita Desai's feet.

"Thank you, ma'am. I am your biggest fan. It is truly an honour."

"Oh stop. Please!" said Desai, her face flushing crimson.

And they continued to come -- old copies of Desai books in hand -- to take pictures, to have books signed or just to chat.

Poet and journalist Jerry Pinto said, "Immerse yourself in this moment. You are in the presence of a living legend."

Desai, a three-time Booker-award finalist, was in Mumbai this week as part of a larger tour of India. Last weekend, in New Delhi, she was conferred with the honour of becoming the 75th ever fellow of the Sahitya Akedemi, India's premiere literary group.

Last night, at Landmark bookstore in Infiniti Mall, Andheri West, in north Mumbai, Desai celebrated the re-launch in India of three of her finest works: Clear Light Of Day, In Custody and Baumgartner's Bombay.

Image: Anita Desai at the Mumbai book reading

Text: Matthew Schneeberger | Photographs: Sanjay Sawant

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