Slyvia Plath, said,
“Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
This ‘self-doubt’ is what came to my mind when visiting the JLF (Jaipur Literature Festival) 2020 on 25th January, 2020.
Yes, my accomplishments as a writer so far have been proud-worthy, but stepping into JLF, looking at the lined-up sessions schedule and then witnessing the authors from across the world share their views on writing and much more, made me think that, “I’m a very tiny fish in a mammoth ocean”. The writing and authors community is indeed huge!
This realization came with self-doubt for sure, but was soon replaced with an ambition; an aim to reach at their level, by learning from them and growing in my field. I recalled that I had got a chance to attend the JLF 2020 because of my writing skills itself. My story had won the ‘Best Script Award’ from among 150 entries, 40 final selections and 9 short-listed ones, so I must be good too, right?
At the JLF, I got to meet, greet and interact with celebrity authors from across the world including Christina Lamb (co-author of books like I Am Malala, Nujeen and many more inspiring books)
and Madhur Jaffrey (Actress & Author of books like Seasons of Splendour, Climbing the Mango Tree and many such cooking based books)
Besides the writers, I also got to talk to and know about people outside the reading and writing community. For instance, I met this inspirational lady who is one of the four co-founders of KPCT Foundation, which sells and promotes artwork done by differently-abled children. Isn’t that wonderful?
I also met one of the core team members of Pratham Books, a publishing house which focuses on children’s books and literature.
But among the stalls at the JLF, I was most impressed by Datri, a Non-Profit Organization & India’s Largest Unrelated Blood Stem Cell Donor Registry, which aims to save the lives of blood disorder patients. They have a worldwide reach and their operations are completely transparent which was apparent in the way they interacted. Thanks to them, I registered as a stem cell donor and am hoping to match with someone in need soon, so that I can become a donor and make at least some noteworthy contribution towards saving a human life!
As I was only there for a day, I wanted to make most of it by attending as many sessions as possible, however this turned out to be quite an impossible feat, as 6 sessions (of one and a half hour each)were happening simultaneously at various junctions within the same venue, which made it a total of 36 sessions in a single day! Despite the wish of being present at them all, I only managed to attend session number 82 (TRANSFORMATIONS: THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS which included Tarun Khanna, Arun Maira and David McWilliams in conversation with Hindol Sengupta), session number 87 ( CLIMBING THE MANGO TREES: FOOD AND MEMORY which incouded Madhur Jaffrey in conversation with Chandrahas Choudhury), session number 93 ( WE THAT ARE YOUNG which included Angellica Aribam, Varun Thomas Mathew, Pallavi Raghavan, Rafiul Alom Rahman in conversation with Pragya Tiwari), session number 94 ( THE GIRL FROM ALEPPO: NUJEEN’S ESCAPE FROM WAR TO FREEDOM which included Christina Lamb in conversation with Suhasini Haidar), session number 100 ( EXCELLENCE HAS NO BORDERS which included BS Ajaikumar in conversation with Varghese K. George, launch by Shashi Tharoor), session number 103 (BOOKS TO DIGITAL which included Sandeep Unnithan and Sumrit Shahi in conversation with Nalin Mehta), session 108 (CRICKET: THE SPIRIT OF THE GAME which included Shashi Tharoor, Gideon Haigh and Rajdeep Sardesai in conversation with Keshava Guha) and session number 119 (SWACHH BHARAT, SWASTH BHARAT which inlcuded Amitabh Kant, Namita Waikar, and Parameswaran Iyer in conversation with Sanchaita Gajapati)
Out of these, CRICKET: THE SPIRIT OF THE GAME was hands down my favorite one because it included two of my favorite personalities, Shashi Tharoor and Rajdeep Sardesai, and more importantly because it was on my favorite sport, cricket!
After each session, there was a separate book/author signing session within a dedicated booth where fans could get their copies of the authors from that session signed. At these, I grabbed the opportunity to handover signed copies of my books as well! Since, this was like a dream come true to not only come face to face and interact with Shashi Tharoor sir, but even get a signed copy of my favorite work of his ‘The Great Indian Novel’. So, I got that done and even gave him a copy of ‘The Untold Stories’. Here’s hoping he reads it and likes it!
So here’s me signing off on my experiences with the concluding thought of self-belief and of growth, rather than of envy, when looking at those who have achieved more than I have in the field of writing!
Cheers to more writing, more creativity, organic growth, support and solidarity.
Here are the details of all my published books: