The misty mornings in Jaipur gave way to a lot of sunshine over the weekend, giving the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival organisers and visitors some much needed relief from the cold winter wave. Among the celebrated authors who visited JLF over the weekend were Jhumpa Lahiri, whose twin sessions titled ‘The Global Novel’ and ‘The Interpreter of Stories’ ran to packed houses, leading to a few arguments over who stepped on who. Authors Reza Aslan and Jerry Pinto also conducted houseful ­sessions through the day. Another highlight at JLF was the Jaipur BookMark, the Festival’s new platform for the publishing industry. Cyrus Mistry won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2014, for his novel Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer. From a shortlist of six, the winner of the US$50,000 (approx `30.7 lakh) award was announced at JLF.
Sunday: High on grey matter
Two of JLF’s most anticipated ­speakers, Javed Akhtar and Barkha Dutt, couldn’t make it to the festival at the last moment. But that clearly did not mean that the audiences were left disappointed. Day 3 saw some powerful sessions, on topics ranging from war to love, mythology to science, faith to rational thinking. In fact, people turned up in huge numbers for author Amish Tripathi’s refreshingly light-hearted and candid session. He talked about the days when he was an atheist, and the repeated rejections he faced before getting published. This was followed by famous playwright Mahesh Dattani, who read excerpts from his play, Where Did I Leave My Purdah?
However, it was American political philosopher Michael Sandel’s session, Justice: What’s the right thing to do? that impressed the most. Finally, Karsh Kale and Midival Punditz gave the day a fitting end, with their exuberant performance at the Music Stage, where guests and delegates let their hair down, sipped on wine and prepared for the next day.Amrutha Penumudi
Party all night!
After the sessions got over on second day of the fest, we decided to go back for some festivities. Initially, when we entered Diggi Palace around 9pm, a washed-out venue met us, with the absence of the hustle and bustle of morning sessions. But, as we followed the noise of a jazz-infused, soulful jamboree, we reached a small section of the palace earmarked for an afterparty. Complete with charming fairylights, paper lamps and vintage decoratives, live music by bands like Curtain Blue, gourmet pizzas and alcoholic beverages — this other side of JLF was a delightful surprise!