Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

I'll be grateful if you...

Jan 18, 2016

Hindu Lit For Life: And the winner is Easterine Keri

As usual, I could pick out the winner of the Hindu Literary Prize this year too and it was a pleasure to show the tweet to the winner Dr. Easterine Keri, (Since she does not have a twitter account) I had sent an hour earlier than the announcement. She is a very soft-spoken and highly sensitive person and interacting with her was such a pleasure. Her award winning book "When the River Sleeps" has got me thinking about the spirits, dreams and journeys that has been entangled within the landscape of my own book, "Songs of the Mist".

Alaxander McCall Smith and Dr. Easterine Keri

"When the River Sleeps" is just like meandering through the forest, running eddies around the pauses in living and then breaking free to run with demons and dreams. It is a lovely book, enjoyed it throughly.

Had an interesting conversation with Dr. Easterine Keri and posed for the
The beauty of Hindu Lit Festival is the relaxed atmosphere, where you are free to chose what you would like to do, or hear or interact with. The stalwarts of literature, Music and creative fields, spend their time in unassuming way and willing to share their thoughts with any one around. After 6 sessions, since Hindu Lit Festival's inception, it feels like home. 

T M Krishna with Balkrishna Gandhi...

Day 2 - day 3 had an impressive array of discussion and interaction lined up. I am giving below some of the images and thoughts from the day for those, who have had missed being there.

Burkha Dutt: The passionate firebrand journalist
Anita Ratnam takes on Barkha Dutt, on her own game...
It was interesting play on the role reversal as Anita Ratnam asked not to speak until she has heard the question... The interview was engrossing, where Barkha Dutt opened her heart and exposed her passion to which she is married to. Unlike the Wikipedia report which mentioned her being married to a Kashmiri Muslim. Some of her thoughts from the interaction...

So I'm told, "oh you're married to a Muslim that's why you're secular." Since when has secular become such a bad word?"
"Rahul Gandhi is the most incompetent in media, I think Arnab Goswami was soft on him in the interview"
"Social media is double edged sword. Twitter is the new PTI"  - Barkha Dutt

Amish: The Rock Star 

Amish - The Rock Star Author
and some of his thoughts...
"The ending has to be such that it keeps gnawing at you for the rest of your life!"

"As long as you don't force your faith on others and your belief gives you peace, then what's the harm?"
"Faith when it becomes blind, it becomes a problem"
"There is no word in Sanskrit called blasphemy. Why? Because it didn't exist."  - Amish

Shashi Tharoor: The Eloquent Politician
A great 9 point presentation on the networked world, where Shashi Throor proved beyond a doubt that India has come of technical age, discarding the ancient Rope trick and snake charmer skin....

Some of his thoughts from two session he interacted with...
"A student who's not good enough to get into an IIT maybe qualified to get into a Harvard"
"We have a Prime Minister who is a doctor who can diagnose the problem, but can't deliver the medicine, " 
"I strongly believe that the politics of performance will defeat the politics of identity," - Shashi Tharoor

Dr. Chithra Madhwan: The Soul Keeper
I have had attended Dr. Chithra Madhwan's many lectures and her passion for safeguarding the ancient temple architecture comes out so clearly in every one of her presentations. Sharan Apparao's moderation was beautiful and brought out the right sense of desperation among the audience for the defacing our cultural heritage and ancient architecture.

Dr. Chithra Madhwan voiced her worry that the insensitivity of people will soon lead to complete disintegration of temples and we need to know where we came from to take it forward. Temples were not only about religion and education. It also functioned as banks, panchayats, library and filled the major social gap in terms of local administration and safeguarding the people living around.

The Forbidden Fruit : The best and the frank session of the Festival
The fearless and frank opinions of the panelist in the session made it one of the best session. I would leave you with some interesting thoughts on the Eroticism and some of the author's who have taken the genre to the new heights...

Amrita Narayan
"When you have layers of shame on collective culture, it's difficult to write," says Amrita Naryanan about her erotic novel.
"One of the criticisms of my book is that sensuality of everyday lives isn't Indian,"
"Sex in India is outsourced to Goa or the United States!" - Amrita Narayanan 

Lionel Shriver

"I need to have strong feelings about what I write, and for the person who read it to feel it too"
"In the west we have moved to a set of new taboos that I call the tyranny of virtue."

"Happiness is a state of motion, a trajectory The idea that happiness is a place you get to is destructive" - Lionel Shriver

Margaret Mascarenhas
"It is my theory that romantic love is a terminal illness. It is not normal"
"Sex, love and violence are part of each other. To have an effective story, something has to happen,"
"The kind of love I would like to cultivate is one where your partner becomes your best friend. It's more soothing" - Margaret Mascarenhas 

With Manil Suri
"I don't think sex is no longer a taboo. I mean, look at Section 377," - Manil Suri 

With Alaxander McCall Smith
"As writer you have to make an imaginative leap of other people's experiences." says Alaxander McCall Smith, who is known to write 1000 words per hour and has written 80 novels and sold more copies than Michael Jackson's Thriller. When I asked him about his writing style being close to P G Wodehouse, to which he smilingly admitted that he had heard that before. When I asked him about why his villains are not actual villians in the gory sense of the words, he said "If you just focus on the bleakness and suffering, every novel would be a tragedy."

Now I will leave you with some images starting with Mr. N Ram of Hindu, who for the first time in 6 years, was actively engaged with the going on of the festival, moderating few session and probably the most frequent questioner from the audience.

N Ram from Hindu
Shortlisted Book for the Hindu Literary Award
Songs of the Mist Quote on Opinion Tree
Leaving you with a quote from my book "Songs of the Mist" fluttering on the Opinion Tree at the Hindu Lit Fest Venue.... 

"Man has always tried to rewrite history, but the mind is unforgiving, more so is the time"

Hope you have enjoyed the journey, see you all next year at Hindu Lit Fest, meanwhile enjoy reading good books and if possible write the book, that is lurking within your heart. I will...

नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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