Friday, 25 January 2013

Literary Feast - Jaipur Literary Festival 2013


January 24th 2013 - As I set out on my journey for the Jaipur Literary Festival 2013 my heart was filled with expectations and a bit of apprehension too....Expectations, because this was my first visit to this much hyped literary meet, as I had heard so much about it. Last year I had really wanted to visit but backed out at the last moment as the Festival was mired in controversy. The last being about Salman Rushdie not being allowed to visit due to pressure from fundamentalist elements for his work 'The Satanic Verses' being hyped up for no rhyme or reason. This year too I was apprehensive as certain fringe elements had threatened the Festival again as four writers who had read out verses from 'The Satanic Verses' had again been invited... However, the organizers had learnt from their past mistakes and were better prepared to deal with all eventualities. Moreover they were not prepared to give in to a handful of protesters out to get publicity at the alter of the Festival. So this time I resolved more than ever to travel to Jaipur and finally make up for the loss of time and so here I am. 
The Festival opened my eyes to the sheer delight of meeting your writing icons face to face. Even if they were not your icons, the discussions, the interactions, book releases, exchange of ideas was all so refreshing that it leaves one gasping for more. The city of Jaipur,known for its stories of valor, rustic romanticism, earthy charm, beautiful music and folklore,coupled with its hospitality and bright sunshine is the ideal host to this great Literary Festival, and sets the perfect backdrop to this awe inspiring meet. This year's attractions so far have been Pico Iyer, Javed Akhtar, Dalai Lama, Shabana Azmi, Prasoon Joshi, Faramerz Dabhoiwala, Debra Merchant, Kishwar Desai and countless others....
The setting at the Festival is perfect, the chattering of the birds as the evening sets in, the warm but re assuring sun shine pouring in from in between the curtains put up at various enclosures, and best of all the names of the enclosures itself...Charbagh, Tata Steel Front Lawns, Google Mughal Tent, Baithak, Counselage Durbar Hall and Samvad....all so romantic and breath taking.....Its been really heart warming so far, and I can't help but attend the full length of the Festival, although initially I had planned to leave early. Only hope the weather stays that way and there are no rain interruptions. So as they say Cheers....

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