February 01, 2009

The Jaipur Literary Festival - 2009

It was nothing less than a dream come true for me and Neha, who have been planning this trip since the last 5 years. Finally, we made it to the Jaipur Literary Festival ‘2009.

For 3 days, we roamed in the company of literary giants; we inhaled the air of creative freedom and were intoxicated by the aura of the majestic venue. It seemed like a world far away from the mundane life we subject ourselves to. It invoked the free-spirit that seeks some space every now and then.

The list of speakers was breathtaking - Vikram seth, William Dalrympme Simon Schama, Pico Iyer, Hari Kunzru, Nandita Das, Shashi Tharoor, Prasoon Joshi, Barkha Dutt and many others. On the very first day, we witnessed the book release of Bachchanalia.

Mr. Bachchan walked in and you could see why they call him the most charismatic man of Bollywood. Be it a 10 year old school-going kid or an 85 year old uncle, there was not a single soul out there who was not awed by his presence.

From reel to real

Book release of Bachchanalia

And for two crazy girls who were trying to soak in as much as possible, this was just the tip of the ice berg. The talks that followed did every bit to spark our creative imagination. From sessions on transgressive literature to scripting for bollywood, from talking about the history of America and its new President to the state of Kashmir and its reflection in Indian literature – the sessions raised many questions, stirred up many voices and invited new perspectives.

Shashi Tharoor and his huge fan following

Tharoor and Simon Schama on the history and future of America

Prasoon Joshi

Munni Kabir and Nandita Das talking about her film Firaaq

Michael Wood of Discovery's 'The Story of India'

Barkha Dutt and Ashis Nandy

Arthur Flowers 'performing' his stories

While the days stood immersed in the aura of intellectual freedom, the nights ended in a trance of music and the arts.

Music of the Bauls

Poetry readings and dance performances gave warmth in the chilly nights. Every night we left mesmerized, only to return the next day to give in to it once again.

At the end of the 3 days, we couldn’t believe the festival had ended. Hell, hadn’t it just begun?! We stood there, seeing the halls getting emptied, the beautiful arrangements being removed one by one. With great difficulty, the feeling began to sink in. Yes, it was all over.

But then, it’s always good to leave when you’re hungry for more. It only makes sure that you come back to it the next time.


~ ॐ ~ said...

this was like seeing the who's who!!!

can anyone participate in this?

looking for more from this event!!!

Piggy Little said...

i love it. i so so love it.....make a post on doors also.... :) :)

am so exicted i wish jan 2010 comes soon enuf!!!!


bhumika said...


the best part about this literary fest is that anyone can participate and there's no entry fee!!

yes, i'll surely post more :)


yes ma'am.

I so wish that jan 2010 comes soon enough :)

pink dogwood said...

sounds amazing - how do you get tickets for this event? Maybe one year when I am in India in January....

megha puNAter" said...

wow lucky you,bhumika.what an event!
stupid question maybe but did you get AB,s autograph?

bhumika said...

@pink dogwood

The entry to the event is absolutely free! It takes place around the same time every year. So next time you can plan your trip in Jan :)


:P no! AB was only signing on his books. Neha did buy the book and get his autograph :)

dharmabum said...

sounds like fun...but the list included quite a few of those that the bum categorizes as a little...er...'pseudo'. but then, who isn't i say!!

Anil P said...

I would have been keen to listen to William Darlymple and Pico Iyer, lucky you :)

Lazy Pineapple said...

It would have been so much of fun to experience this....I wish I was in India...listening to such renowned people must be mindblowing

bhumika said...


I wouldn't disagree with you. But nonetheless, they speak pretty well and yes, they know they subject.


William Darlymple is a regular speaker at the fest since he is also one of the organisers. So if you can make it next year, you'll surely be able to listen to him.

Both of them are fantastic speakers without a doubt.


good to see you after a long time. yeah, the experience was awesome. let's hope you can make it next year :)

Vineeta said...

YOU LUCKY THING!!! I'm so glad u mentioned the Literary festival in yr comment, so i quickly came over & wow! you've had such a ball. It must have been so so inspiring. To breathe the same air as these people!

bhumika said...


:) yeah, i was really lucky to have made it to the fest this year. Things can get really difficult once you start working.

Let's add this to our set of plans :)

pRiyA said...

Lucky, lucky, lucky you! but thanks for posting about this so that we could at least get a glimpse of this!

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