Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mera Bharat Mahaan.Jai Hind!!

Happy Republic Day!

Sorry about my long absence... I was away at the Lit Fest in Jaipur.

And..... hear this .... I am going to be away once again from the 28th onwards. This is going to be a longish break. Am planning to visit Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, plus a few days spent with our son Ranadip in Singapore. Not sure I'll have internet access at these destinations since I'll be leaving my best friend ( the laptop!) behind. However, I promise I shall try my best to at least 'mini-blog' from wherever I am. I miss this space more than you can imagine!

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The Jaipur Lit Fest has GROWN. That's an understatement. It is soooooo huge now, that it is entirely possible to get lost at Diggi Palace (the official venue), where the resident royals look after guests - why, right royally, of course! William Dalrymple runs the show splendidly with his army of White Mughals. Co-promoter Namita Gokhale deals with mounting, minute-by-minute stress the best she can. It IS a moveable feast. And how lucky is Jaipur to play host to what Tina Brown calls ' The Greatest Literature Show on Earth." And how lucky am I to be only the second writer invited back for yet another feast ( Hari Kunzru, is the other one).Each time you turn around, you get blinded by the dazzle of literary stars rushing from one courtyard to the next, intellectual gems pouring out of their mouths as fans greedily hang on to every word. This is how it should be, dammit!!

I enjoyed my session with Marie Brenner, the award- winning journo ('Vanity Fair'), who exposed Enron ( remember the movie 'The Insider' based on her book?). I'll tell you what made this special and memorable - Marie's professionalism. It was a class act. Our journos have a lot to learn from seasoned and celebrated writers like Marie, who don't take a thing for granted. She had read my books, done her homework scrupulously and structured the one hour session sensibly. She conducted the proceedings seamlessly, devoid of personal ego.There was zero attempt at one upmanship as she allowed a free flow of questions with the audience. We met a brief half hour before our pre-lunch session, and struck an immediate rapport. " Let's keep the mood lively and intimate, " Marie suggested, adding, "Let's chat like girl friends." And this is exactly how it went. I enjoyed myself thoroughly, especially when Marie quoted Sartre and asked me whether I thought it important to throw metaphorical bombs at society in order to disturb the peace! Me as a Molotov Cocktail in Mumbai and elsewhere? Why not?? I hate complacency. More of us should disturb the peace. I hadn't really looked at it in this context, but thank you, Marie. You have planted a fantastically subversive ,highly attractive and potentially lethal idea in my head! Watch out, readers. There are some serious explosions coming your way!
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Sorry, but I really don't understand why we fell all over ourselves when it came to Hanief Kureishi. He was supercilious and condescending at the best of times, twitching his nose and being more Brit than the British! I loved 'My Beautiful Laundrette," but that was because I love Daniel Day Lewis. Hanif wrote that terrific book based on his family ( his uncle ran a laundrette). I am sure Hanief has done some wonderful stuff after that - but WHAT???

17 comments:

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Do you know your best friend talking is good for us. Please carry your best friend next time.

nishant pandey said...

Something real fact about "HIND".....

100 mein shyad sab beyimaan
Phir bhi mera bharat mahaan

n'joy ur life said...

I m really big fan of yous and i attended your session in jaipur. After attending your session my perspective to life has really changed. you are a grest person i've seriously started adoring you more.

RAJ47 said...

Hi Shobhaa and all the readers,
HAPPY REPUBLIC DAY!!!
Plz check these videos(I know everyone in India has watched it by now):
PartI:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq31OjsQ124
PartII:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nytoo6jFfNg
This is the latest version of "Song of India" called 'Phir Mile Sur' released on the eve of our Republic Day (26 Jan 2010). Plz give wide publicity to this beautiful composition. It signifies Unity in Diversity and generates a jubilant feeling of patriotism in every Indian.

Vaudeville of exhilaration said...

Happy republic Day!!! Waiting for your remarks on mile sur mera tumhara on blogspot!!

Apanatva said...

गणतंत्र दिवस की हार्दिक शुभकामनायें.......

gb said...

Thank god. You have added to your blog today. i was waiting for this for last 4 days. U r genius in writing.

Manjari Singh said...

Wow, I was really waiting for that!
The fest had loads of Rajasthani writer. Tell us how they were.

And how do you like young writers like Meenakshi Reddy and all

Himanshu said...

hi HAAPY REPUBLIC DAY its feel good that u have good time at the fest
& best of luck for ur journey and hope u have gr8 time with ur son.

Theyoginme said...

Perhaps you ran into my friend Mridula (Susan) Koshy. She is the author of "If it is Sweet" a collection of short stories which has received rave reviews. She lived in Portland and moved to India with her family so her children could experience their roots and learn their mother toungue. Great mother and an inspiring parent..I hope you get to meet her sometime.

ms said...

happy 26 january, mz de! this greeting is a reflection of our times, most know it is a holiday but not for what reason!
also, saw you on cnn-ibn (indians at 60 segment. please sue the channel for disclosing your age in this careless fashion!) and my most rivetting moment was when you said "children are not part of my retirment plan"! i envy your offspring - they are living without the metaphorical responsibility-yoke on their young shoulders. at last, you have shown up the hypocrisy which nestles in the indian institution of family. reminds me of my 85 year old neighbour in a western city: painted his roof, trimmed his trees, cooked, kept his home clean and partied every friday night with his wife, also 85 years old. they had been married for 60 years when he succumbed to cancer. but, what a life! so, let not the ageists among us win - live life kingsize! or queensixe, in your case!! congratulations, mz de. what did you think about mz tagore blithely ignoring the fact that her wild-life murdering son was awarded the Padma?

malini said...

" I'll tell you what made this special and memorable - Marie's professionalism. It was a class act. Our journos have a lot to learn from seasoned and celebrated writers like Marie, who don't take a thing for granted. She had read my books, done her homework scrupulously and structured the one hour session sensibly. She conducted the proceedings seamlessly, devoid of personal ego.There was zero attempt at one upmanship as she allowed a free flow of questions with the audience." quoting you itself, to make the context of my comment clear.
I have had the same thought of professionalism for years, sometimes i look at how these people have structured interviews, an attitude so professional yet they come across very friendly getting the utmost of the person being interviewed.
My point is, do we lack training? Shouldnt established writers like you and many more take up a few hours of teaching amateurs? You can teach and fill the void of the lack of detailing and structured writing here in India.

somyaa said...

The only words of urs , which you said during ur session at Lit fest. , ring in my ears like bells are - "What's Stopping You?" ...
There was lot to learn in Lit. Fest. ... Ur session at the last was Boost up for budding writers! Thank You!

lilywhite gal said...

Hello Madam. I heard you in Lit. Fest.I Love your writing style.Your advice for aspiring writers boosted me so much that I've caught both literal & literary fever :).I would be grateful to you if you could just guide me that as I am not from literary background so what should be the first step in order to begin with my novel....
Thank you.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

what??? marie from Vanity fair does not think you are enough of a mirchi bomb already? You most definately are. You make many people think, and thats important. Subversive I like.

And was Hari Kunzru there? His writing is delicious. My heart hopes that he is too.

Gajendra said...

I wonder when the organizers will start telecasting JLF live..!! I for one will be grateful if that happens

shafinaaz said...

Ah, a pity indeed that I missed your session, Ms De, as I had to leave Jaipur early on Monday morning. I loved the vibe at the JLF and that's how it should be; cutting edge, powerful engagements (in most cases, minus the unfortunately lopsided 'Migrant words' workshop which could have been better balanced; Shepard seemed to have some interesting contribution, as did Joshi, if we had chance to hear more. Alas, there was more to contend with in other sessions, especially the delightful Dr Simoen, Tina Brown, Vikram Chandra, Ali Sethi et al.

Rgrds,
S