Last month I found myself doing something I had never done before in my life, but I will talk about taking my loneliness on Snapchat some other day. Also, last month, I attended the Jaipur Literature Festival, also known as the Confluence of Kurta-wearing-fluent-in-english-hence-not-to-indulge-with intellectuals: Indian Edition. I admit, it was nothing like I expected it to be. Not everyone was there in a kurta and jhola, talking about literature and world peace and politics and other things that both me and Arvind Kejriwal have no idea about. There were also pretty girls in crop tops and guys with beard thicker than a Yak’s tail taking selfies. Hence, it was also a mini Hauz Khas away from Hauz Khas, including the fact that I stood there like a sad single guy while people talked to each other about books and literature and why was I standing there oggling at them and drooling.
It was a five-day festival, attended by who’s who of the literary societies of India and the world, which is a sentence I have copied from the official website of the festival, since I had no idea about who most of them were. I recognised Gulzar and Rishi Kapoor correctly, and incorrectly asked a somewhat mature and grey-haired gentleman to sign my copy of that day’s ‘Times of India’, only to hear “Abe Chutiye mai Shashi Tharoor nahi hu” multiple number of times while he ran away from me to alert some security official. I also saw William Dalrymple from a distance, and people were making a huge deal about him, though his significance in my life is limited to adding another chapter that didn’t make sense to me in my twelfth standard English curriculum, and I hated him for that.
I went to the festival alone so that I can
stare at young girls bask in literature uninhibited. I came up with a challenge to myself that I would try and chat up at least one intellectual-looking member of the opposite sex, so that after a prolonged discussion over authors and genres, I can eventually disappoint her by saying that 5 books out of the total 7 that I have read in my life have been written by Chetan Bhagat. Well, the other two were written by Charles Dickens, and I only read them because they were in my curriculum, which I used to call syllabus till MBBS, and thank heavens I didn’t know what ‘Dick’ was a slang for till then, else it would have been one of the most comically inspiring academic events of my life, second only to my Biology teacher pronouncing you-know-whats as KAN-DOM in full glory.
I attended a few interesting sessions too, like the one on how Sanskrit was used by Mughals to make their way into Indian culture and popular vote. My most favorite part of the session was learning that if I tilted my head by 30 degrees and bobbed it at a rate of 15 nods a minute, it will look like all the gibberish they were talking about was actually making sense to me. The other session that I was looking forward to was on Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, but I was disappointed as no information manual was provided on how to join Bajrang Dal so that I can take a lathi and beat up couples on Valentine’s Day this year. Not that I am a violent guy, but it’s just that I can go to any extent for a free uber-fashionable free bright orange tee and shorts.
I have a lot of somewhat funny stories and incidents to share about my trip, but due to lack of space and the fact that no one would read this anyway, I would let it rest in secrecy forever, much like how heartbroken I was to finally realise I would never be an intellectual guy. Apparently reading Chetan Bhagat doesn’t make you one.
Yeh Zaalim Duniya, I tell you!