Sundeep Bhutoria

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Right time to be in Jaipur


Today I had an early morning meeting with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at his residence. It was a courtsey visit. I also visited the head office of Rajasthan Foundation and discussed about the future events and activities in Kolkata.
 In the afternoon I went to watch a polo match and had an adda session with few of my friends from Jaipur at the Polo Club's exclusive lounge. I like the elegance and decor of the lounge. I think this is the right time of the year to be here in the Pink City. 
A perfect weather has set the stage for lots of events - sports, cultural, films and literature. Besides the Jaipur Literature Festival and Jaipur Festival, the polo matches are also on drawing lots of sport lovers. The film festival would begin shortly.
At night, I attended the Writer's Ball dinner at the Amber Fort. The dinner marked the conclusion of the Jaipur Literature Festival (Jan 21 - 25, 2011). This Festival has made a mark in the literary world. And why not. Two Nobel laureates, Orhan Pamuk and J M Coetzee, historian Patrick French, Candace Bushnell, Richard Ford, Martin Amis, William Dalrymple, Vikram Seth, Gurcharan Das to as many as 220 authors from 23 countries were in attendance during the Festival

HRD minister Kapil Sibal, Gulzar and the Pakistan ambassador to India and many others visited the festival.
The dinner was for about 200 people and restricted only to the writers, who were called upon as the guest speakers, a few other select people. The beautiful lighting at the heritage Amber Fort added to the ambience. The dinner at such an exclusive place - The Kesaria which is at the Kesar Kiyari part of the fort - was like a dreamland fantasy come true with foreign delegates going ga ga over the music.
I met Urvashi Butalia, Malashri Lala and other writers known to me at the dinner. The dress code for the Writers' Ball was black with a touch of pink and gold. But I was in my traditional attire - kurta and pyjamas. I must congratulate the organisers of the Festival, Namita Gokhle and William Dalrymple in particular, for the remarkable show.
It is through their efforts that the Festival has gained international recognition in six years. At the dinner, I met a young Pakistani writer H M Naqvi (picture) from Karachi who bagged the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. 

H M Naqvi
He too would be flying to Kolkata tomorrow.
The only regret that I have is missing out on the inaugural function of the Kolkata Book Fair and also the show of Mahabharata by Tanmoy Bose and Nilanjana Ghosh that would be staged tomorrow at the Golf Green Festival.
ess bee

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