Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Magical world at Diggi Palace

A gathering of like-minded people thronged the corridors of the Diggi Palace - venue for the Jaipur Literature festival,2007 and yes, yours truly was very much part of that.

Since a lot has already been written about this by indiauncut, jabberwock and kitabkhana,
I'm adding only little nuggets of information.

William Darlymple's post lunch session on the first day of the fest., was good till about 40 minutes after which I caught people dozing - I must mention this despite him being such a wonderful narrator but alas! a post-lunch session can sometimes prove to be a disaster. I wish there was more to the session other than just getting to hear extracts from his book.

To a question by a wise,old man to Kiran Desai whether unlike her hero Biju , is she not fortunate enough to win the Booker?, Kiran replied (in her soft voice, much to the agony of the audience at the back who were constantly complaining that it was inaudible until she was almost forced to 'kiss' her mike) -'Winning the Booker is like a lottery - it depends on a whole lot of factors like the happenings around the world that year, what the other writers have written etc.'

One of the questions to Suketu Mehta was 'why fiction is more popular than non-fiction' , he replied 'Because it does not involve going around slums or a fat advance'.
Another question shot at him was 'If attending creative writing courses is of any use? ' ,he said that personally he found it useful ; had he not done the course he would have still come to Jaipur but not as a writer but as a diamond merchant(he hails from a family of diamond merchants).

William Darlymple who also moderated Suketu Mehta's session remarked atleast on two occasions about incurring the wrath of bloggers to which Suketu replied politely that he doesn't follow blogs too much.(Point to be noted, what??)

Amit Chaudari's session I thought was one of the best ,with Anita Roy doing a very good job which Barkha has apparently failed in case of Kiran Desai. Please read an extensive account of it here.

One would wonder if the crowd for Rushdie's session, which spilled the corridors and extended till the lawns , had any clue as to how captivating his session would be!

Whether it is "What kind of God wouldn’t strike you down for eating a ham sandwich?”“Karachi is a bloody big dump!” or

'Chhagan Bhujbal is an asshole' or

'Karachi is a dump' or

'this week's issue of Outlook has lies written about me'

Rushdie proved that he is indeed the walking, talking intellectual and is worthy of all the respect and recognition that he gets.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Swathi. That indeed was a useful glimpse into what the rest of us missed..Wish I had been there..:-)

- Aruna

Deppe said...

great stuff! Was this broadcast on TV as well? I guessed I miss that too

Crouching Tigress said...


Swathi said...

thanx, next time u r welcome to join me.

i guess so, though i din watch it myself...

@c. tigress

Anil P said...

If Suketu Mehta really implies that Non Fiction is about going around slums, then he would never look beyond searching for drama in misery.