Jaipur, LitFests And Life

By Sunil Kumar

My 244th Post on this site. About the flowing river of partial cerebral ecstasy that is the Jaipur Literature Fest. By now; I’m sort of a veteran of this relentless idea/thought/self-importance blabbering described as a meeting crossroads for the creative mind.

English: Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, India. Polski: Pa...

Visit sunil-kumar.co.in English: Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, India. Polski: Pałac Wiatrów w Jaipurze w Indiach. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At last count; I’ve attended 11 so far; 4 in literary fest Varanasi/Jerusalem Jaipur(2012,13,15,17); 5 in Mumbai home base(2011-16) and 1 in the capital Delhi(2015). Have they left me any wiser? Probably yes, maybe not. Since I’m sort of infra-dig on history and record-keeping including my own; for a legacy that I could go though later; here’s the first session that I ever attended in the JLF 12 5 years back;

Bhakti Poetry-The Living Legacy: Arvind Krishna Mehtrotra and Purushottam Agarwal. Over the years; in the midst of jampacked crowds that grow like the proverbial juggernaut; I could gasp at the crowds; with a mix of admiration and contempt. Craziness and crowds are intrinsic to the Indian life experience; and I wouldn’t be honest if I said some of the sessions were amazing engaging; and some thoroughly boring. Getting an audience quiz prize from Siddhartha Basu 12 years after Mastermind India(as a college team) is an inevitable boost to the experience; even if a few smiling, encouraging locals were egging you on.

Identifying Nalanda correctly(the correct answer to the audience question) and the vast crowds around Shashi Tharoor‘s talk that I planned to attend summed up the last day of my trip to Jaipur this year as I trudged though dusty roads to get to the Central Museum Jaipur which like many built in the 19th Century was named after Victoria’s husband Albert; Prince Consort.

The Jaipur experience has also meant visiting Amber, the Birla Temple; the Rambagh palace; crowded roads, ramshackle autos and some neat taxis. There is an ineffable charm and history in Rajasthan; which sometimes gets lost in human foibles. Like all of India; this state is a mix of the crass and the sublime; poverty and extreme riches, deception, treachery, devotion and affection.

Until the next time; thank you to me!






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