Bangalore Lit Fest ’22

Comic con is said to have about 50000 visitors in its 2 day extravaganza sponsored by Meta, it had us scramble to post reels, tag meta, indulge in AI and literally run around for wifi as we posted all that digital information, tagging, retagging, including, learning the ropes of the media, for one challenge they asked us to use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and finally to email ourselves the media before we could complete a set of 4 challenges to win a really snazzy meta bag. It was harrowing not to say the least because not just was it so difficult to maneuver in that crazy crowd, but it was also so hard to make sure we had the bandwidth to post all our creations, it was also an utter waste as the bag however snazzy it looked, was of the worst quality possible and began to crumble simply within three weeks of the fest. At the Comic Con we swore not to come back next year, probably giving it a year or two before we next ventured in there. The popularity of digital media, gaming, movies and characters was just amazing. Needless to say my watch list grew a couple of furlongs as we made out of the crazy populace. The cosplay was fun though, at a point I thought we met Thor, the man was dressed to the t, immaculately.

And then, the Bangalore Lit fest happened, I am not sure how many people attended the event at the Lalit Ashok, but I must say we could breathe. I have been a reader since I was taught to read, and Belle was the Disney princess I most related myself to as a child, dressing as Belle for every fancy dress competition. Ariel came a close second, well because she’s a mermaid and I loved to swim, but I did quite take to the zealousness of Belle, and of course her courage to see beyond appearances. I remember spending hours with my Grandpa accompanying him to his various government meetings, (he was an IA&AS officer) since there was nothing more I detested than staying at home. And on the way to the sometimes day long meetings, we would stop at the bookstore, buy a book to read and one to color or draw in and head to the meeting, where I would sit on a side or sometimes in an ante-chamber reading tomes, not realising the time till a peon would come and call upon me saying it was time to leave. There would be lunch breaks, there would be tea breaks, sometimes a lovely conversation, and sometimes cricket (if my brother was involved in that outing) but mostly it would be my time with books, to read in or to draw in. Writing happened sporadically, with my Mom being my greatest cheerleader, reading every word I would write, some were letters to embassies, who would send me goodies in return to my kind words, and others that got me my teacher’s attention in school. Then elocution happened, that came with writing, and doing that well gave me the confidence to showcase my opinion, of course, Twitter gave it a radical boost, my first Boss, Architect Yeshwant Ramamurthy showed what editors may be interested in, my father introduced me to newspaper editors, where my weekly articles appeared for about 6 months and then finally WordPress gave me a podium to write without being published per se. Like they say everyone has a book in them and I do wish mine could see the light of the day someday. And these feelings were only fanned at the Blr Lit Fest!

A meeting point of reader, writers, smart opinionated feisty people, chill Uber cool millennials, authors who have a point, authors who do not want to have a point, people who came for a unique experience or then some who landed up because their wives said so! I for one was so happy to see so many authors, who’s books I have bought or newspaper columns I have read in true flesh and blood, speaking their minds. Sunil Chhetri was there too, talking about the book Awakening the Blue Tiger, speaking of football, why India is not a sporting nation, what it will take and why sports should be mandatory in school and then in life! If not the Olympic medals he says, India with a have a population that is physically fit, mentally stable and healthy in general. (Maybe injured too, my mind thought, considering all the injuries sports people endure) But then he did make a valid point. Then there was Shobha De, who seemed much more intelligent than her books which was very refreshing. She had a rather lovely conversation with Surya HK, and there was an interesting point of view there. Ahead I thoroughly enjoyed the Q&A with Manu Joseph who rightly observed that in Chennai every argument is won by the statement, it is scientifically proven that… Much like his column his views are tangents and give one a unique point of view. Don’t hate me he says, and then firmly tops it up with, hate me of you want. The Maverick Maharaja is a new book that I would like to read, it was sold out at the fest bookstore by Atta Galata, after hearing Yaduveer Wadiyar, who did catch my interest. How difficult it must be to be a torch bearer of a legacy that man made irrelevant if not irreverent. But then I did get my stash of books, signed even by Kubbra Sait. That woman was a revelation, am waiting to read Open Book, but her conversation was by itself so much fun and so exciting. Her vibe utterly exquisite. Now I think awesomeness may just run in families. It is probably genetic!

For the kids there was a lot to do. My son was thrilled with the jumping castle and all the games, he was enthralled at a session by Priyanka Agarwal Mehta, who writes with the sole intent of teaching EQ to kids, I wonder if it can taught though, and of-course entertaining kids with her character of Samara. Tinkering robots got children to build a robot, which was super fun, while Whale Tales got them to hone their illustrious arty side. The resultant processes were super great.

It was surely just another day in paradise and though I missed lots, with 6 sessions happening parallelly and having an interest for almost everything it is certainly hard to be everywhere, it was one of the funnest day ever. Book lovers and book worms be warned, this is one place you may never want to leave!