Sundeep Bhutoria

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Author's Afternoon with Namita

With Cesare Belliere and Namita Gokhale
March 27, 2014: Yesterday afternoon there was another event of our popular Author's Afternoon series at The Taj Bengal. This time the guest author was Namita Gokhale who is also a very good friend of mine and happens to be the co-director of Jaipur Literature Festival along with many other literature festivals and literary bodies.
Signed copies of her new book Travelling In, Travelling Out were distributed to the guests. This book of unexpected journeys is a collection of twenty five stories or rather internal journeys into the mind or in external ones across lands.
With Ipsita Roy Chakraverti
Wiccan high priestess, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, who herself is an author and an authority on the occult themes, was in conversation with Namita. I had met Ipsita once before for a short time. I am thankful to her for accepting my request to do the honours of engaging Namita in a interesting conversation. She too had contributed in the book Travelling In, Travelling Out which was edited by Namita.
Ipsita Roy Chakraverti runs an organization called The Young Bengal Brigade (YBB) which delves into varied subjects including mythology, history, psychology, psychic, esoteric and the occult, and most of all – the human mind. Ipsita is the chairperson of YBB.
I am also very surprised by the fact that Ipsita and my mother, Late Prabha Khaitan, both of them had a similar kind of incident in life mentioned in their respective biographies, Beloved Witch and A Life Apart, that took place in the United States years ago. While Ipsita mentions how she met singing sensation Elvis Presely in her biography, my mother does the same in her's where she tells us about her encounter with another Hollywood legend, Greta Garbo, when she refused a tip from the legendary actress to the utter surprise and dismay of many. Author's Afternoon is organized by Prabha Khaitan Foundation.
With Prof Malavika Sarkar
At the Author's Afternoon session, Ipsita read out a part of her experience at the Bangarh Fort (built around 1613) in Rajasthan’s Alwar district. According to the local legends and myths, one of Balu Nath and the other of Princess Ratnavati and a tantrik, the Fort is said to be haunted and cursed. Legends say that there are ghosts in Bangarh and that is why entry is prohibited for tourists in the Fort after sunset and before sunrise.
The guests were quite impressed by Ipsita's story. So was I, especially by the way she narrated it. This session of Author's Afternoon was very different from earlier ones in the sense that it had a sort of an eerie aura around it.
With Maiko Morita
Even today afternoon during lunch at home we were still talking about her experience and the Author’s Afternoon session. I had hosted the lunch for Namita and had also invited Ipsita along with Prof Malavika Sarkar, Vice Chancellor of Presidency University, K Mohanchandran, General Manager, Taj Bengal, Ina Puri, Mr Cesare Bieller, Consul General of Italy, Rachel Sunden, Deputy Director, American Centre, Maiko Morita, Vice Consul of Japanese Consulate, Siddharth Pansari, Roopa Ganguly and Ms Bulbul Sharma, who was also in Kolkata and had written a piece in Travelling In, Travelling Out, joined us along with few other guests.
It was a leisure lunch that stretched till almost 4 pm.
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