Sundeep Bhutoria

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Friday, January 22, 2016

JLF is also about kachoris and leisurely lunches

January 22, 2016, Jaipur: Yesterday I met Shashi Tharoor who is also staying in ITC Rajputana with his newly-married son Kanishk and daughter-in-law Amanda.
With Sashi Tharoor
Sashi said to me, "Sundeep, rawat ki kachori kab khila rahe ho?" Despite a sumptuous spread of lunch and varieties of snacks at the JLF, there is always a huge demand for 'Rawat ki Kachori'.
Rawat Misthan Bhandar in the walled city of Jaipur claims to have "invented" these kachoris many years ago and they have become so famous that any visit to Jaipur is considered incomplete without Rawat's kachoris.
Food, along with literature, art, culture, theatre and gossips, is an important part of Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF). A large number of writers and festival organizers like Sheuli Sethi and others have great love for this unique kachori of Jaipur. 
I always try and arrange Rawat ki kachori in my room in Diggi House, during JLF, where they can come and savour it. Shashi and his son Kanishk came over and enjoyed the kachoris. Even when Shabana Azmi was in Jaipur for JLF during in the past she used to get these kachoris delivered to Marriott.
Another popular beverage in the JLF is the 'Diggipuri ki Chai'. Served in traditional kulhads (earthen cups), the chai is popular among the authors, celebrities and visitors alike. The gentle winter breeze, the intellectually stimulating JLF sessions and the hot chai make for a perfect combo. The warm and friendly turban clad chai wallahs (tea sellers) attracts one and all. Not having chai at JLF is really missing out on something. However, there is no sugar free version available for the diabetics.
From the balcony of my room in Diggi Palace, which opens up to the lawns, I don't have to go down to hear the sessions. Through out the day there is an inflow of guests and the chai and kachoris are a big hit. I, on my part, ensure that there is a fresh supply from Rawat five times a day.
A large number of people turn up every year at the JLF only to socialize and mingle. From kulhad chai to chaat to various types of coffee and patisserie and sangria, a multitude of food and beverage items are available to binge on. Not to forget the pints of beer which sell like hot cakes. Food is a crowdpuller, and not just between the sessions, many choose to miss out on the sessions to get a pizza or burger. Food, in fact, has become a very very important part of the festival.
In this context, when it comes to bonhomie and camaraderie – the two hour lunch in the courtyard of Diggi Palace is a great place to socialize, interact, network and mingle. People leisurely have their Jocob's Creek wine and assorted chilled beers.
Yet another popular eating joint during JLF is the Anokhi Café especially for those who would like to take a break from the milling crowds at Diggi Palace. Going with the season, there is also a popular demand for gajak and til papdi and so I decided to get some gajak from Bharatpur and til papdi from Beawar for my author friends.
It is only apt that the LitFest is also a great package of academic sessions, music, cultural programmes. Not to forget the food. Yesterday I had some amazing food at Mita and Rahul Kapur’s residence in the evening attended by some authors and friends.
ess bee

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