There was something about Bangalore Literature Festival this year on a personal front. The last time I attended one was four years back and the memorable note was - I had quit my job just three days prior to the event. The attitude then was, while preferences do change, passion, of course is something else. My love for the written word is unbeatable. Today, both my livelihood and luxury depends on it.
I have managed to stay away from full time roles to keep my passion alive to write, build on startup ideas with words, support like-minded souls with content and be free for any creative pursuit or new learning, any time.
So while my visit to Bangalore was only for a month and keeping in view, this was the first visit after my relocation to Kolkata early 2017, I had a definite agenda and must do list. The sixth edition of the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) topped that list.
This year as the event was at The Lalit Ashok Lawns, the travel time was a serious concern. As we can be there only on any one of the days keeping our priorities and engagements in view, we quickly saw the festival schedule split in four sections across both days - #Speakup; #Speakout; The Red Couch and C | L | F (Children Literature Fun).
We chose Sunday, 29th October with the hope that the traffic will not be severe and we can just manage a few cerebrally stimulating afternoon sessions. We were there by 1.30 pm and therefore missed the launch of Rajdeep Sardesai’s book on Cricket and Girish Karnad’s thoughts on the world of A K Ramanujan.
We steered away from political debate and debacle completely. I was personally not keen at all and was away from Kanhaiya Kumar, Ramachandra Guha and the kind. I do not belong to that league and have no qualms to admit it. I am not sure if Kanhaiya qualifies to be part of the panel on Nationalism, Populism and the Threat in the first place– Many think he does and that’s the end of story. Politically charged sessions was too taxing for my brain as it was just geared for some fun moments
So I, the lesser mortal with poorer intellectual material had to shift to lighter zones of the festival.
I was with author of many books Lakshmi Menon who is also quite popular for writing children books and manages this. I was mindful to attend at least one session on writing for children. So we settled in the front chairs not just for a closer view of Reena Puri and Ranjit Lal, in conversation with Sudeshna Shome but to avoid the shining 1.30 sun.
One can imagine the interesting mix, with one talking for Mythology and traditional writing, while the other contemporary writer was unable to relate to it and admits that he has zero knowledge about mythology. The editor maintains that the medium Amar Chitra Katha helps children acquaint themselves to Indian heritage and heroes, Ranjit, on the other hand, was content to write about more pressing issues like Dementia or abuse of daughter by her own father. The talk covered all of this and more.
How to manage to stay relevant to the prevailing time?
How to you choose topics?
Purpose of reading
The festival was seriously a nice, mixed bag of personalities with over 120 authors there - Many first timers, many voices, many topics.