Apart from debates, discussions and books, one thing that stands out in a literary fest is meeting the creators of the books that one has read. Armed with her copies, Tanvi PS set out to the Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF) to meet them in person.
An author who wonderfully narrates the magic of the mythical Indian world through his books, DevduttPatnaik spoke about two of his latest contributions,”Olympus” and “The Girl Who Chose”, at JLF. He interacted with the audience on matters ranging from philosophy to similarities between Greek and Indian Mythology and he somehow linked all these to contemporary world issues.
Meeting Patnaik and getting his autograph was quite a task. He cancelled his first book signing and it was only in vain that I tried to meet him outside his sessions. Finally, on the penultimate day, foregoing his final session, I stood in line with other admirers of his work and got his autograph. Smiling and maintaining a cordial demeanour, he signed my copy. In the chaos of the crowd, I also sneaked in a selfie.
I metChitraDevakaruniBanerjee, the mastermind behind “Palace Illusions”, the story that retells the Mahabharata from the point of view of Draupadi but I missed meeting Gulzar, the famous Hindi poet. What stood out, however,was meeting AshwinSanghi. I conversed with him during his session thanks to a question-answer session and I also got a photograph with him after the session. As I was getting his autograph, he jokingly remarked to all those in line, “Don’t get your hopes up guys,I have another signature for my cheque-books”. His chirpy personality and quick wit, made meeting him as thrilling an experience as reading his books.
Each author was different. Some of them matched the spirit of their writing, some were entirely antonymous and while some turned out to be even more charming than their books. Meeting writers whose work I have read was indeed an incredibly unique experience. If you have a favourite who is alive and churning out creative literary chaos, do not miss an opportunity to meet them. Even if you don’t come back with an autograph, you’ll definitely come back with stories to tell.