Monday, January 23, 2012
My 'Saafa' moment in Jaipur.....
Since there is a charming comment on the 'saafa' in my friend Meenal Baghel's lively 'Mumbai Mirror' today, I thought it a good plan to share images with my blogdosts. Alas, there were no jewels on the turban, just a 'Penguin 25 Years' tin badge pinned on it! It is a terrific time to be a Penguin. And I am indeed exceedingly loyal to the imprint that has given me so much over those very 25 years that we are celebrating this year, with a series of exciting events. I wish I could have carried my bright and beautiful 'Socialite Bag' that night, but it was swiped! What an imaginative merchandising opportunity. Since 25 authors, along with 25 iconic titles, are being honoured via post cards, mugs and cloth bags, how could I not carry my own one which acknowledges my first ever book, 'Socialite Evenings'? The other bags worth possessing are 'The Bag of Small Things' and 'The Suitable Bag'. No prizes for guessing which fabulous authors inspired those - right???
This appeared in the Bombay Times today.... fingers crossed the videolink does happen...
Jab Salman gayab ho gaya!
The single most vibrant ‘presence’ at the Jaipur Lit Fest was of someone who wasn’t there! Had Salman Rushdie really shown up, I’m certain he’d have overshadowed Oprah Winfrey. Thousands of Salman supporters were hoping against all odds that Rushdie would defy conventional wisdom and turn up at Diggi Palace. I guess the ‘cooked up’ death threats took care of that key decision, leaving the Talk Show Queen to hog the limelight minus any competition. Since Salman has indeed become the cause celebre of this annual Carnival ( Literary Kumbh Mela), the issues raised by his absence have hi-jacked the Festival itself. Nobody could have anticipated this dramatic turn of events, least of all, the organizers who had invited Salman in good faith. The debate will continue long after the Festival ends , and the Jaipur Lit Fest 2012, will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Salman will become the literary martyr who was ‘lied to’, and other authors who boldly read passages from the banned ‘Satanic Verses’, will get their muted wah wahs for ‘showing guts’. At least one of them , managed to flee to Bangkok fearing arrest. So much for ‘guts’. The others quickly packed their bags and left town. Salman Rushdie ‘Superstar’ will undoubtedly eat out on the story at other international Lit Fests, and everybody will eventually forget that the entire controversy was manufactured by politicians to serve their own purpose. The big question to ask is : will protesting writers boycott the Festival next year ? No chance! It has grown into such an attractive monster, most hungry writers would prefer to be devoured and consumed by it…. rather than be ignored and left out! But the ghost of Salman Rushdie will haunt the venue for years to come.