She said, Jay has this effect on me she can get me to do anything.
“Mom HLF is amazing and fun”
Second input from her.
Anyway as I could catch up with her I decided to attend the Hyderabad Literary festival believe me it was fun. There books and books and even more books. There were people who actually read the books. Workshops on storytelling, instagram doodling and cartooning. There was the Telangana Tourism mobile museum talking about art and architecture of Telangana. The curators shared the veeragallu or the hero’s story carved on stone. They also taught people how to read it. There were comfortable spaces to read, people of all age groups clutching books or curled up to read.
The festival had enclaves for authors we could interact with them. They also signed our books. There were stalls that educated people on Telangana handicrafts like pochampalli weave, the Kalamkari printing, and the silk thread jewellery making.
Pottermania quiz for teenagers, oral story telling competition for young adults, create your own story for kids the instagram trek open to all age groups — Hyderabad allowed creativity to flow.
Publishers had their stalls where books were sold. So did people selling second hand books. The most interesting was an outlet where we could donate or sell our used books. Telangana transport showcased their electric auto’s. the community radio platforms were airing the event, collecting stories.
It was almost like finding my tribe of book-worms. the Manipal litfest, well there was no fun factor here, structured workshops that meant serious business, books translations, even the evening performances were thought provoking.
The Goa litfest is something I have been associated since its inception. Though it has become a confluence of familiar writers, like Jerry Pinto this year Kaveri Ponnappa, Ranjit Hoskote seem to give it a miss. There were a few workshops thrown in here too. Sessions for kids by Rajeshri Bandodkar, but the zeal and zest of Hyderabad definitely missing. The best part of the Goa Litfest is the coffee bar, where the authors and delegates can interact. The books of the participating authors were of course there for sale.
Couple of years back when I was actively involved with the festival, I remember beginning the activities quite early. They would be book reading through the year, and publishers would actually send in proposals for the authors that they would like to show case. But looking at the authors and discussion maybe it is time to access that file. Vanamala Vishwanathan with her book on Harishchandra Kavya, Chitra Viraraghavan and Krishna Shastri Devunapalli with their book Madras on my mind, Chandrashekar Gowda with his book on Gauri Lankesh were new and welcome faces, in the stagnant pool.
End of November was the Valley of words, at Dehradun, the authors were mostly retired or retiring IAS or Defence officers, except for Anand Neelakantan and Dilip there was not much happening, however there were these younger girls from remote villages who penned stories revolving round the Tehri Culture, the postal department shared the postage stamp collection with Dehradun as its theme, the Ruskin Bond Walk, Dr.Ohri’s Been There Doon it trek and book. The blogger’s alley all of it was great.
December was to have been the Ahmedabad literary festival.
At the valley of words we had the blogfest too. now that was interesting in the sense it was great to put faces to names and stories that we have been following round the year.
Hyderabad, Manipal,Dehradun and Ahmedabad was vibrant in showcasing and discussing the books in the state language which was conspicuously absent in the Goa Litfest. So was the cultural ethos of the state. Though Manipal show cased the mainstream leaving out the authentic rural storytelling of Tulu culture there was some Kannada at least.
Looking at the activities that were organized I wondered what brought people to the Literarture festivals, there was Sandeep Shetty from Bangalore who had travelled to Goa three years back to attend the festivals. Bloggers had travelled to Dehradun because there was a blogger meet and not for the literature festival. Conversations with various people brought forth these baits,
· You get to meet other people who love books.
· You feel proud of being a bookworm and there is a sense of belonging.
· One gets to converse with others with similar interests, debates on plots and characters is interesting.
· One gets to meet and interact with favourite authors.
· It inspires to go back and complete the novel that one is writing.
· It is possible to network with publishers, buy new books and recycle old books.
· One gets to try amazing authentic cuisine.
· Even the shoppers find something to do, with the handicrafts guys putting stalls these days.
Maybe it is time to book yourself for the next book festival. Make my trip and Airbnb is always there to help.