Date: January 21-25, 2015
Jaipur Literature Festival is here to stay. This was their tenth year and luckily overlapped with a long weekend. Hence it was a foregone conclusion for us that we were going to attend.
Once in Jaipur, all roads lead to Diggi Palace Hotel, the main venue for the festival and the streets were thronged by people hanging the festival ID cards around their neck.
The turnout was much higher than what we had imagined and given the quantum of police force in every nook and corner, it is evident that the government throws its weight behind this event.We had registered online (this is free for visitors) and after passing many security checks we stood behind surging crowds for collecting our ID cards.
We attended a couple of sessions. As expected, the crowd in a certain session was directly proportional to the celebrity quotient of the speaker. There was almost a stampede to enter the area where our ex-president APJ Abdul Kalam spoke. However the quieter sessions were more insightful and the audience seemed to swallow every word with rapt attention.
We spotted celebrities like Chetan Bhagat, Shobha De, Suhel Seth, Swapan Dasgupta and Aruni Kashyap. While the standard of their writing is debatable, one has to admit they have got the Indian readers to read English books and has brought about a sheen of glamour to the otherwise lacklustre field of literature. As a result, the crowd at the literature festival beat the attendees of a rock concert.
There were a couple of book stalls and makeshift craft outlets within the fair area. Like any other event the quintessential food courts carried pastries, sandwiches, tea etc. As part of the event, cultural programmes and music concerts were held in the evenings at other venues.
From what had started as a small gathering for interaction between authors and their fans and readers, the festival now is a mega event high on celebrity quotient. Thus bookworm or not this is a must do for anybody who is open to new experiences.