Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Lit Fest That Rushdie Did Not Attend- Jaipur Lit Fest 2012

Talk from Day 2 - 'Writers in Exile'
This is a long overdue post, I know and so tonight I just had to pull this post out of the draft folder that it's been sitting in for the past two weeks.The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of the Jaipur Lit Fest this year was how crowded it was! Readers, authors, celebrities and curious onlookers ambled through the Diggi Palace making it look and feel just like a "Mela", while adding to the crowd (and confusion).There was even a lost child announcement made on day three-yes that's how crowded it was! There were swarms of people just everywhere I went and thanks to Mr. Rushdie there was triple layer security and you couldn't get in unless you had a pass with a little bar code on it which contained "all your information" (creepy!). Thought the high society, dolled up, "book club aunties" on the hunt for authors who they could persuade to visit their clubs gave the festival a slight air of pretentiousness, yet nonetheless it was a wonderful experience and pushing through those crowds to get into talks was well worth it .

The beautiful sun washed Diggi Palace Hotel was the perfect venue and surprisingly managed to contain the thousands who attended. On Saturday, the second day of the festival it is believed that 17000 people attended and getting out of a talk venue was as challenging as getting into one and on Sunday they had to stop people for entering for a couple of hours! Luckily, there were days when I managed to get a seat in venues where there were a string of three talks that I was interested in attending and on some days I just sat outside in the sun near one of the speakers, sipping tea and eavesdropping on talks.

The one thing I thoroughly enjoyed was taking photographs with my brand new, beautiful Canon 1000D . It made my visit to the festival and Jaipur well worth it and I was that annoying little shutterbug who went click, click, click, onto anything that caught my fancy!

The above photograph was taken during a talk on Writers in Exile, in the most civilized (and by that I mean least crowded) venue the Baithak- which had the best seating in the festival thanks to the comfy Mudas and Gaddas. The talk had the fabulous Hanan Al Shaykh, Kamin Muhammadi and Fatima Bhutto talking about how living in exile effected them as people and writers.

My verdict of the Jaipur Lit Fest 2012- Crowded and controversial, yet completely worth it!


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