A tiny step towards the world of literature

“Your life is enriched with meaning when allow yourself to become inspired, set goals, and charge after them with passion.”
Julie Connor

Its one thing to admire something from a far end, while its totally different thing to enter the long cherished domain and examine things first handily . Being a book lover, it was my long desire to attend a literary festival sometime. The opportunities to do so never came until yesterday. I recently started following a local FM Facebook page as they have started a poetry slam. But I never got any response from them except one asking for my personal number where they never bothered to call.

I knew that around September, a literary festival is conducted in my city, but I never bothered to search for it in details. So day before yesterday, I saw a facebook update on local FM page regarding the ongoing literary festival, I got excited checked the details and realized it was being conducted in a nearby place and 4th September that happens to be yesterday, was the last day of the festival. I checked the program details and got excited by seeing the event list.

I left my home around 1.30 pm and reached the venue by 2pm. I realized the program that I so dearly wanted to attend has already been started, and the auditorium was overcrowded, I persuaded the guy outside the auditorium to let me go in saying I would be occupy so less of a space. He denied at first saying he can’t as other people who were standing out would also like to join me. I made a puppy face and said please, see there is no one around us, so no one will know that you let me in. He looked around for a while and opened the gate stealthy and let me in. Their I entered in the literary world and attended my first ever Literary Festival in Pune called Pune International Literary Festival 2016.

My Attendee Identity Card

It was a session “Yours truly with Prasoon Joshi(Rajeev Masand in conversation with Prasoon Joshi).” I have admired him a lot specially for his touching poetry. There I was listening live to one of the most famous lyricist , film writer and poet of my country.

I couldn’t click his photograph as I was in standing in crowd where we couldn’t see him bare eye and had to look at the screens for the same. It was one of most beautiful session I attended where he talked about his journey, people who influenced him, gender equality and poetry recital.

The next session was “Roast- Ashwin Sanghi”, though it was never a real roast as the author is not a controversial person. He is one of the best seller of our country belonging to mystery genre. I have read few of his books and they are quite good too. He has often been referred as Dan Brown of India. Nevertheless the session was quite entertaining as the author talked about his 47 rejections by different publication houses until he made it to the best seller list.

Ashwin sanghi signing his books for fans

The third session was “Crime Time : The will , Thrill and Drill of the author”(with Avirook Sen, Neeraj Kumar, Mark Manuel and Helen Smith, moderated by Piyush Jha).

All the authors in conversation with piyush jha(from left to right – Neeraj Kumar, Helen Smith, Piyush Jha, Avirook Sen and Mark Manuel)

This was very knowledge enhancing session as three of the authors were somehow related to crime time. Neeraj Kumar was an ex-IAS officer while Avirook and Manuel belonged to crime journalism. On the other hand we had Helen Smith a London based author who writes fictional crime stories while the moderator Piyush Jha is fictional thriller writer who is also a film writer and director.

The session highlighted the difference between the real and fictional crime. How it is solved in real life and what are the challenges the writer faces when they talk about the truth in their books. How cautious they have to be in bringing out the facts in their books. How they have to draw line where they have to put enough on a reader’s plate but not sufficient enough for the people to get the real culprits and identities.

After this session wandered outside for a quick break of snacks and coffee, looking at the book stalls. I didn’t bought any book from their because of two reasons, one I forgot carry enough cash to indulge in it and secondly I am overloaded with my To-Read list.

I also attended last few minutes of a session of “Archie in your life”(Siddhartha Jain in conversation with Co-CEO of Archie Comics – Nancy Silberkleit) where they talked about how the archie comics concept came 77 years ago and how after her husband’s sudden demise she has to take over his role and how fascinated she became with Archie’s world. How Archie has been one of the most famous comic strip and comics of all times in the world.

Sidhartha Jain with Co-CEO Archie Comic Nancy Silberkleit

The last and the most awaited session of this year’s literary festival was “Yours truly Anupam Kher”.

Anupam Kher in conversation with Ashok Chopra

Anupam kher is one of the most famous Bollywood actor, theatre artist , motivation speaker and most importantly an author. He is the man who is a born optimist and truly believes in “Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai”(If this can happen then anything can happen) philosophy. He talked about his struggle for niche in Bollywood industry, his humble background , his teachings from his parents and grandparents. His love for his craft and his die hard love for his country.

He ended the session one of my favourite poem by one of most loved poet of our nation Harivansh Rai Bachchan

लहरों से डर कर नौका पार नहीं होती
हिम्मत करने वालों की हार नहीं होती

नन्ही चींटी जब दाना लेकर चलती है
चढ़ती दीवारों पर सौ बार फिसलती है
मन का विश्वास रगों में साहस भरता है
चढ़ कर गिरना, गिर कर चढ़ना न अखरता है
आखिर उसकी मेहनत बेकार नहीं होती
कोशिश करने वालों की हार नहीं होती

The English translation for the same goes by :

The boat that qualms the waves
Never gets across
The mind that dreads and dares
Has never been at loss
The tiny ant, when it carries the grain
Lays it up into the heights of the wall
Falls slipping a hundred times,
Just as it tries again
The faith in the mind
Stirs courage in the nerves
It soars and slips, then slips and soars again
Until its efforts have not been in vain

The one who tries,Never fails.

PS : So tell me when was the first time you attended a literary festival or attended a book launch or joined a community for book lover or anything that marked your first step in getting out of your cocoon.