I attended the event for the first time and I know it will not be my last. I was in awe and I am still thinking about it. Jaipur Literature Festival has left me breathless and I know that nothing will match to it, till I am again on a flight to Jaipur next year. The festival was of five days and I wish it were longer. I wish it didn’t end so soon. More than meeting the authors, for me it was the exchange of ideas that mattered the most. This holds true for every session attended in those five days and how the speakers and interaction with them changed some part of my notions and the way I viewed the world.
Nothing else mattered in that time. Friends held no significance. Twitter was just another website. Food was forgotten most of the time. It just didn’t matter. What mattered the most was to take in as much as I could. The ideas and the shapes they formed from the speakers’ mouth to my head. From seeing one of my favourite authors, Nadeem Aslam on stage and speaking about the novel in Pakistan to interviewing him in person and being astounded in his presence. To understand that there is more beyond the cocoon we live in (I always knew that, however this festival just reiterated it) to meeting new people who love books and reading. The buzz was almost infectious. Everyone seemed to be taken by it. I am sure that a lot of people who attended the festival may not have been readers. They may have attended it because of the Bollywood peripheries or because of the cricket session featuring Rahul Dravid. However, that does not matter. What matters is that they were there, they got to touch books (assuming), the authors got to reach out to them and I hope that they will read.
For me, it felt as though I had died and gone to heaven. Heaven sure would be like this. A place where writers and readers mingle. That’s how it should be. It then did not matter whether you had read one book or more. What made most sense then was the way you felt towards reading and books, towards opinions and whether you had something to say or not. I managed to interview six writers who I love and admire. I had to do this for myself. Last year had not been easy in terms of work, and yet somehow attending this festival made me believe that everything would be fine. Everything would turn out just fine. Maybe that is why I needed to attend this. To forget the world for those five days. To carry everything I could from there. From writers and from their books. From what matters the most to me in my life: Reading words. Holding them in my mouth. Feeling them in my head as they turn to emotions. Till next year, you will be missed, Jaipur Literature Festival.