Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jaipur Diary – The Early Birds

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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Jaipur Diary – Watching the Early Birds

Notes from the Jaipur Literature Festival.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Click here to reach the complete compilation of the Jaipur Diary

9 pm, January 20th, 2010. Clear sky, cold wind. The food is so-so but who cares when there is unlimited free wine? The lawn in the Diggy Palace Hotel – the site of the Jaipur literary festival - is crowded with writer types. The five-day-long fest is starting tomorrow and the early birds who have already reached Jaipur are fluttering around with wine glasses and dinner plates. The Delhi Walla, too, is checking out the scene.

It is as if the entire literary Delhi has flown in to Jaipur. More authors, more journalists, more booklovers are expected in the coming days but one can still do some people spotting. Author William Dalrymple, one of the two festival directors (the other is author Namita Gokhle), is longingly looking into the eyes of his artist wife, Olivia. Basharat Peer, the author of Curfewed Night, is having a cigarette in one hand and a wine glass in the other. Mr Peer has come with his girl friend but she is nowhere to be seen.

Italian author Roberto Calasso is looking like a Parisian intellectual in his baldy forehead, black overcoat and red tie. The lady next to him is rumored to be his girl friend.

Someone is overheard saying that author Mahashweta Devi, an invited guest, won’t be able to make it. ”Too ill,” says that ‘someone’. “But will Tina Brown really come?” asks another. There is talk about how flights are getting delayed due to Delhi fog.

Two journalists from Delhi are eagerly talking about an interview with Alexander McCall Smith, the creator of a bestselling African detective series.

Tibetan activist and poet Tenzing Tsundue is laughing along with a man who is looking like a replica of Leo Tolstoy. But no, he’s Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, a poet from Allahabd. “For the West, he is currently the biggest poet to come out of India,” says a freelance writer. Next to Mr Mehrotra is English novelist Michael Frayn, looking sombre in his white suit. By now it is 10.30pm. The evening is ending. Till tomorrow.

Click here to reach the complete compilation of the Jaipur Diary

Roberto Calasso

Jaipur Diary – Watching the Early Birds

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

Jaipur Diary – Watching the Early Birds

Tenzing Tsundue

Jaipur Diary – Watching the Early Birds

Basharat Peer

Jaipur Diary – Watching the Early Birds

William Dalrymple and wife Olivia

Jaipur Diary – The Early Birds

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Must be colder in Jaipur. It is desert country.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Besides Dalrymple, who is the other festival Director? What is the itenary of events? Thanks.