Meeting Pankaj Mishra face to face was for me like my daughter going backstage to see Katy Perry. So a recent dinner with the great man was certainly worth it, though it didn’t come cheap. We both arrived at about the same time – late. Other guests were already congregating and deep in conversations. So I had a short time with arguably Asia’s leading literary thinker today, all to myself.
He was unfortunately rather taciturn, and we ended up talking about the weather and a bit about Hong Kong’s democratisation and “mainlandisation” before he was duly returned to the other guests.
“I am not surprised at all about Hong Kong’s reactions to the mainland,” he said. Well, that’s the thing about having an awesome intellect; you already have the conceptual repertoire in hand before you familiarise yourself with the specifics about a new place.