What December is to the kutcheri-es and dance performances, January is to the carnival for the literature enthusiasts in Chennai.The Hindu LitFest is a three-day festival where people gather from across the globe with interesting facts, intriguing stories and inspirational talks.
I was keen about attending the LitFest this year and had registered for all three days of the event with proper leave approvals from my boss, well in advance. Well, He had his own plans, I was out of town and attending the LitFest seemed nearly impossible. Somehow, I managed to get back home(Chennai) for the weekend with the hope of making it at least to one of the three days.
The first day of the LitFest, also being a festival day for the South Indians, kept me busy till the lunch hour and I quickly dressed up to be at the venue, Sir Muktha Hall. I frantically steered the car to reach the auditorium to make it to the session at 2:25. Why??? Why because, an ‘unsuitable boy’ was the speaker of the hour! On time, a seat at the topmost row of the auditorium with a clear view for my eyes and the lens, I was ready . It was a full house with people sitting on the steps and standing near the doors. The murmurs turned into excited “ooohs” and “aaahs” and we had the speaker of the hour on the dais.
Karan Johar and Baradhwaj Rangan(the famous film critic) took over the dais.It started with Mr Rangan asking a kickass question “The nation wants to know, with who does Karan Johar sleep with?” It was more of an interview and K Jo kept the full 45 minutes interesting with his usual style of humor and captivating narration . He spoke about his book and his films,his journey as an author. He did not refrain from speaking about nepotism which ignited the fire a few months back.From heartbreaks to changing nappies for his babies, he sounded super kewl. The occasional laughs and claps from the crowd was more than enough of a prrof for the honesty and openness in what he spoke. Answering to audience’s questions to wrap the session up, he was available to sign copies of his book for his readers. No, I did not go asking for an autograph!
I decided to stay back for the next session, that was about Cricket. We had the eminent speakers and the famous cricketer , but that did not lure me to stay back, for my interest in cricket is little or zero. I clicked some pictures for the blog post 😉 and left the hall to get a glimpse of the scene outside the hall.
The environment outside the auditorium was lively and beautifully decorated. The place was buzzing with literature enthusiasts, children accompanied by their parents for the workshops, books stalls, coffee stalls and a lot other fun activities.So, if you had ever thought literature fests were boring and sombre, get rid of that notion.
There were stalls where you could type in (the old school types,using a type writer) your thoughts and pin it up.
Or you could just sit down to de-stress with the coloring sheets and get the child out of you by reviving the long-lost hobby. Stalls selling handmade bookmarks, photo frames and everything bookish – it looked like a mini fantasy world for any bookworm!
There were other eminent writers and speakers from across the globe, discussing not just about books but cricket, politics, journalism, history and much more. The event celebrates everything about literature, irrespective of the regions and genre and promotes open talk. Workshops and sessions that would encourage children to pitch into the habit of reading and writing were the new additions this year.
Having enjoyed the evening, I drove back home planning to attend the LitFests happening in the neighboring cities and to mark my January Calendar for the next year.