Okay guys. Much too much is going on in my life. These images have been shot at the Kasauli Lit Fest by Sanjeev Sharma, the very talented press photographer who works for Hindustan Times. It was a lovely Lit Fest - warm, intimate and driven by books, not wannabes. The people of Kasauli threw open their hearts and homes for visiting writers. By far, the star of this Lit Fest was Salima Hashmi, the scholarly, artistic daughter of the legendary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Her session titled 'Many Partitions, Many Legacies' inspired the crowd enough to give her a standing ovation. I enjoyed my own session greatly, even though there were hiccups galore since the great man ( Khushwant Singh) himself was missing.At 98, he is too frail to travel up to his Raj Villa in Kasauli. Despite that, I can gleefully report that every single copy of my books was sold. That should explain the Chesire cat grin on my face during the signing session.Hats off to the King of Kasauli (as Brigadier Ananth Narayan is popularly called) and Ashok Chopra. These two amazing men, along with Niloufer Billimoria, managed to make a huge success out of a modest Lit Fest and with limited resources.
And what did I manage with my limited time in Kasauli? A splendid two hours in the bazaar - Upper and Lower Mall. More on that tomorrow....
This appeared in Sunday Times yesterday....
Bro, you really should have checked with me before deleting your facebook page. Why react to what some foolish people are saying about you? About us?So what if you lost your cool? It’s a pretty uncool thing to do.But it happens, Bro. My issue is simple. Some random guy called Kejriwal makes some random charges against you. Why react? Ignore the guy, Bro. That is what Mummyji always says. If you ignore these pests long enough, nothing happens. People forget. And what is this rando talking about in any case? It sounds like a joke! Anybody in India can make 300 crores today. Overnight, at that. And let’s not forget you had 50 lakhs to start with. Never mind where those came from. These are such minor details. Business is in your blood, Bro. The best investment you ever made was when you married my sis! J-o-k-i-n-g! It was a master stroke, Bro. Let’s face it, from zero family to first family is a major leg up for any lucky guy. After that… it was non-stop Diwali. These randoms don’t get it. Business opportunities don’t come every day. Mummyji keeps saying that. If you used your dimaag and contacts to invest in hotels, real estate, malls, housing societies… vaghera vaghera….good for you. My sis has simple tastes… but life is expensive these days. What are family friends like our DLF buddies for if they can’t help a young, newly married couple?
Jijaji, people are making all sorts of nasty jokes about your DLF deals. And that Kejriwal is maligning the whole family. Naturally Mummyji is upset. But don’t worry, Bro. I’ll handle Mummyji. She has full faith in me. And we have P.C. to deal with the press . Why worry? He is so smart, he even refuses to utter Kejriwal’s name! I like the way he calls him a ‘private individual’. Puts him in his place, nicely. We should all learn from PC how to handle scandal. Even Lallu bhaiya has stepped in to defend us. So sweet. He is talking about ‘character assassination’. Imagine! Bro, it takes guts for Lallu to talk about character assassination. Mummyji will show her appreciation to all these people soon. Mummyji is known for that. But for now, you should just stay out of the public eye. I know that’s really tough Bro. What with the Fashion Week. Who will occupy the front row seat that is permanently reserved for you? I don’t mind filling in… but I don’t have your hot bod, Bro. Talking of which, why not spend the next few months pumping up?You’re gonna need heavy duty muscle power. Keep gymming, Bro. It may turn out to be a tough fight, with more and more embarrassing papers turning up. You will need to be a sturdy India Bull before locking horns with these types.
Thank God our Mango People are really very forgiving. Look at all that they have forgiven over the years! Loot maar and major scams. Mummyji always says, “Good thing we live in India. Anywhere else in the world….” Mummyji is so clever,Bro. I wish I was half as smart. My sis is pretty clever, too. We should listen to the women in our family. They don’t tweet and get all of us into trouble. Maybe you can deal with the negativity, as you said. When all hell broke loose, I told Mummyji to book my ticket to London. I can’t handle such stuff. But Mummyji said not to worry – PC will handle it.
Seriously, Dude… you could have named any other fruit… there are so many to choose from. But you had to pick a banana! Why, Bro, why? Even I felt it was not fair to call the country a Kela Kingdom. Come on, Bro. We are not a Banana Republic.I mean, not officially. Mummyji was stumped. Look at what you’ve done, Bro. Mummyji has stopped keeping bananas on the breakfast table… and I am not getting my daily potassium fix. My muesli doesn’t taste the same, either. You could have mentioned Chikoo Republic, Kaddu Republic,Santra Republic. But you had to pick Kela. And where was the need to mention Mango People, that too, in such a sarcastic way?Now, the whole world is referring to India’s Mango People. And poor Mummyji is finding it very difficult to handle all that criticism. We have to think about Mummyji’s health. She has her own issues to deal with, and she really doesn’t need to be given grief by her family. That’s it from me, Jijaji. Fingers crossed there won’t be more stuff flying around about 2G. And some other ‘G’. Ooops. Even though your surname isn’t Gandhi… see how those Mango People have dragged us into it? And Bro, ever wondered why all Bollywood villains were named Raaabert in the ‘seventies?Actually, India is worse than a Banana Republic.Had we really been one, Kejriwal would not have stood a chance. Gotta run,Bro.It’s Mummyji calling…Affectionately,