The wait is over! One of the most-awaited events of the year, Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), kicks off on Friday. The five-day affair is not only attracting bookworms but also proving tempting for merrymakers who just simply want to hang out. HT caught up with some of them as they geared up to hit the road at Delhi’s Bikaner House, the starting point of their journey to Jaipur.
Serious festival goers
A Gurgaon-based entrepreneur and writer, Shruti Shreya, 27, is amongst the many first-time visitors. “I am looking forward to meeting Jhumpa Lahiri and wish to get Interpreter of Maladies autographed by her. Listening to William Dalrymple will be equally great. Also, the events are free and not ticketed,” she laughed.
Another fest enthusiast, John Vater, 22, has spent six long hours jotting down the names of the speakers and their description. A Fulbright scholar and researcher on Dalit literature from Oklahoma, he plans to attend the five-day event and wants to meet Neerav Patel, one of the pioneers of Gujarati Dalit literature. On his maiden trip to the Pink City, he said, “I have misgivings about the place and the festival, so I want to explore myself if it is really the Asia’s largest.”
“Jaipur Lit Fest!! What’s that?” said 28-year-old Devender Pal Singh. A resident of Delhi’s Karol Bagh and an army officer by profession, Singh, who was leaving for Jaipur to visit his friends, said, “I do have some vague idea about a grand festival happening there, but I am hearing its name for the first time.”
Most shocking answer came from Deepesh Sharma, 21, a journalism student at a Delhi college. “I am going to attend a friend’s wedding and have no idea about the thing being talked about.” Escaping embarrassment, he added, “Also, I am visiting the city for the first time.”
Basundhra Dutta, 14, an Australian citizen of Indian origin, cited her nationality as the reason for being ignorant about the festival. “I am here on vacation and leaving for Jaipur today. Since I am born and brought up in Australia, I have absolutely no idea about Indian fests!”
Twenty-year-old Ramya Lather, an M.Sc student at Delhi University, is excited about her maiden visit to the festival. “My friend interned with the fest organisers last year and told me about her amazing experience, which encouraged me to give it a shot,” she said. Later, however, does not want to be termed a ‘serious fest goer’.
“I am certainly looking forward to listening to a few celebrated authors, but partying does not take a back seat at all. I will also be attending the music events there, and see around as much as I can in my three-day stay,” she added.
Arunima Bhattacharya, a second-year student of Lady Shri Ram College, said, “If my college was not strict about attendance, I would have attended the entire ‘free’ literary festival. But now, I will stay there for three days.”
Replying to what interests her most about the fest, she said, “I am a literature student, so I believe I must attend it.” However, she unveils the truth a little later, “My all besties (best friends) are in final year and very less time is left to spend with them as their graduation day is nearing. Though, I will definitely be attending the Amartya Sen and Jhumpa Lahiri’s sessions, but hanging out with friends tops my wish list.”
Video: What draws people to Jaipur Literature Festival?