A Literary Journey: The Historical and the Economical

Two speakers that need no introduction, Dr Amartya Sen and Professor Sugata Bose, have taken the stage, my parents have arrived and yelled at me, shattering my illusion of being a working professional, and I am ready and raring to note down every word spoken by these “Gods amongst men”, in my mother’s own words….

A Literary Journey: Tiktiki Tales

All my dreams have come true: Sandip Ray is talking about Sherlock onstage, in front of me. Is this reality, or is this just a fantasy? The third session of the day, “Feluda: Gen Next” has begun. The two Feludas of this generation, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty and Abir Chatterjee talk about their own experiences in creating the…

A Literary Journey: The Part-time Thinkers

I am late for this session, being caught up in SPEAKING WITH AMIT CHAUDHURI!! (Excuse the hyper, shrill fangirl-emotions permeating that sentence). The speakers have taken the stage; Indrajit Hazra, Devdan Chaudhuri, Soumya Bhattacharya and Abhijnan Roychowdhury have begun speaking on “On Breaking Boundaries in Indian Fiction” and Dr Abhijit Gupta is occupying his position as moderator. The…

A Literary Journey: Spoken Stories

The stage lights brighten as I await the start of the first program on the final day of the Kolkata Literature Fest: a discussion titled “The Written Word”. The panelists are the incredible Amit Chaudhuri, the equally amazing Adam Foulds, and Sujata Sen, as moderator. I am overawed by Mr Chaudhuri’s presence; as he sits…

A Literary Journey: The Poets’ Corner

This is my session, I think, settling down comfortably into my mosquito-free white sofa. The conversation is already well under way: self-eminent players-of-words Jeet Thayil, Joe Dunthorne, Jonathan Edwards and Tishani Doshi, moderated by Anjum Katyal, have taken the stage to describe their walk through the old, crumbling, growing, ever-new city of Kolkata: a project…

A Literary Journey: A Woman’s Word

The Apeejay Jeet Paul Memorial Lecture begins with an introduction to none other than Mrs Sudha Murthy, chairperson of Infosys foundation. Mrs Murthy’s immense humility wins over the stern audience as she asks if she is “qualified enough to answer” the “tough questions” of Kolkata’s literature lovers, in a panel where she focuses on how one can…

A Literary Journey: The Theatrical Triad

It is 4:30 pm, I am sitting in the venerable white tent awaiting the start of a session with childhood hero Barun Chanda, mother’s hero Jayant Kripalani and Bangalore’s hero Prakash Belawadi. I have just missed two incredible sessions: “Changing Image of Women in Indian Fiction”, and “Chasing the Thrill” (which, incidentally, had Ashok Banker…

A Literary Journey: A Musical Turn

My fangirling feelings have reached an extreme and I am freaking out as Usha Uthup, Zeenat Aman and Ramesh Sippy, among others, take the stage to discuss an album called Memories, created in tribute to the legendary composer R D Burman. The stars sparkle even brighter than the big Bangla “Ka” inscribed on Didi’s bindi,…

A Literary Journey: Goddesses

The tone is set by the fabulous “Devi” locket worn by Ms Shobhaa De; Nandana Deb Sen brings a heady spark of vibrant energy to the stage and Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey moderates a session titled The Venus Factor. The talk bounces between writing and the deconstruction of the process of writing. Ms De mentions that…

A Literary Journey: Shakespearewallah

Entered the venerable white tent about five minutes ago, sat down, looked up at the stage and whisper-screamed: HOLY CRAP I’M SITTING IN FRONT OF VISHAL BHARDWAJ! In”The Craft of Cinema”, Bedabrata Pain is in conversation with India’s new Shakespearewallah: as a student of Film Studies (as a pass subject, but shhh) who has heard…