Thursday, January 27, 2011

my no good very bad jaipur literature festival

TUESDAY NIGHT. 1900 HRS. JAIPUR AIRPORT

ROSWITHA: * checks in for flight an hour and a half ahead of time*
ROSWITHA: * settles in to wait the long wait of the righteous and the once-bitten twice-shy *

FLASHBACK. THURSDAY NIGHT. 1930 HRS. MUMBAI AIRPORT.

ROSWITHA: I'M A JOURNALIST. YOU HAVE TO LET ME ON THAT FLIGHT.
AIRLINE OFFICIAL: * thinks Roswitha is a gigantic failure, but smiles politely *
AIRLINE OFFICIAL: I'm so sorry, the pilot's already signed off on the sheet for this flight.
AIRLINE OFFICIAL: I'm also sorry that every other Bombay-Jaipur flight until Sunday is booked.
AIRLINE OFFICIAL: I'm also sorry for your face.
AIRLINE OFFICIAL: * doesn't actually say this *

ROSWITHA: I CAN'T MISS THIS STORY.
ROSWITHA: Also, didn't we go to school together?
AIRLINE OFFICIAL: ....
AIRLINE OFFICIAL: Oh dear.
AIRLINE OFFICIAL: Still can't get you on that flight though.
ROSWITHA: I am loving the drama of this reunion, old school friend. Don’t mind if I weep a lot.

FRIDAY MORNING. 0300 HRS. HOME.

ROSWITHA: * shaves several weeks off life in sleepless anxiety *
ROSWITHA: * goes to airport, takes flight to Delhi *
ROSWITHA: * goes to Delhi, undertakes four hour drive to Jaipur *

FRIDAY AFTERNOON. 1300 HRS. JAIPUR LITERATURE FESTIVAL.

ROSWITHA: As Samwise says to Shelob in her lair: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
ROSWITHA: EÄRENDIL!

JAIPUR LITERATURE FESTIVAL: * CROWDS *

FRIDAY NIGHT 2300 HRS. ON THE BUS TO HOTEL.

ROSWITHA: * is quietly sick *
ROSWITHA: * INTO BACKPACK *
ROSWITHA: STILL WINNING THIS.
ROSWITHA: * weeps *


SATURDAY:

ROSWITHA: * gets ten minutes to talk to Junot Diaz, has same reaction to him as 47239847543975 others at festival *
ROSWITHA: * is saying * Junot, can you talk a little about how you approach writing a short story? How does that differ from how you see a novel?
ROSWITHA: * is thinking * I WANT TO BE WITH U 4EVA JUNOT.

JAIPUR LITERATURE FESTIVAL: * CROWDS *


SUNDAY:

ROSWITHA: * eats lunch *
VIKRAM SETH: * comes by to eat lunch at same table *
ROSWITHA: * is thinking * THE VERY PERSON I WANTED TO MARRY WHEN I WAS TWELVE YEARS OLD!
ROSWITHA: EÄRENDIL

ROSWITHA: H-hi.
VIKRAM SETH: Oh god no.
VIKRAM SETH: * doesn’t actually say this *
VIKRAM SETH: * smiles * Hi there.

JAIPUR LITERATURE FESTIVAL: * CROWDS *

REDACTED: * hushed whisper * I am never writing another book.
ROSWITHA: I know. You’re going to have to come back here if you do.
ROSWITHA: With all the crowds.
REDACTED: I AM NEVER COMING BACK HERE.

JAIPUR LITERATURE FESTIVAL: * CROWDS *


MONDAY:

ROSWITHA: * has the same reaction to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as 47239847543975 others at festival *
ROSWITHA: * chanting with the CROWDS * I WANT TO BE WITH U 4EVA CHIMAMANDA.

CROWDS: * JAIPUR LITERATURE FESTIVAL *


TUESDAY

ROSWITHA: * is beginning to hear Enya play in the background as Mount Doom approaches *
ROSWITHA: * is about to interview tremendously respected Basharat Peer *
ROSWITHA: * under breath * I WANT TO BE WITH U 4EVA BASHARAT.

BASHARAT PEER: * senses the force from afar - probably *
BASHARAT PEER: * cancels interview *

ROSWITHA: OIC.
ROSWITHA: Well, whatever.
ROSWITHA: I was going to go and hang out with Martin Amis anyway.
ROSWITHA: * does not actually hang out with Martin Amis. *

AND SO, TUESDAY NIGHT. 2100 HRS.

AIRLINE: * announces departure for Mumbai *
ROSWITHA: * approaches boarding gate *
SECURITY GUARD: Your boarding pass please.
ROSWITHA: * has lost boarding pass *
ROSWITHA: ....I've lost my boarding pass.

TUESDAY NIGHT. 2125 HRS.

ROSWITHA: * running towards plane *
ROSWITHA: THE EAGLES ARE COMING
ROSWITHA: WAIT FOR ME
AIRPLANE: * waits *
180 PASSENGERS ALREADY ON BOARD WAITING TO LEAVE: * glare *
ROSWITHA: EAGLES.

WEDNESDAY MORNING. 0015 HRS. HOME.

ROSWITHA: The scar has not troubled me for nineteen years. All is well.
ROSWITHA: Or something.
ROSWITHA: * goes to bed *


Anyway. I got some work done in spite of these several and self-inflicted sorrows. You can read my opening-day report here, my closing-day report here, and several blogs I posted here. More forthcoming presently.

I also met a great many wonderful people, some old friends, some new, some well-met in meatspace and some never before. I say to you that you are beautiful. It may be that only a few days are left ere darkness falls upon our world, and when it comes I hope to face it steadily; but it would ease my heart, if while the Sun yet shines, I could see you still. For you and I have both passed under the wings of the Shadow, and the same hand drew us back.

6 comments:

  1. I have cartoon hearts around my head. <3

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  2. Words fail me when I try to express how much I loved this or how hard I laughed, until tears rolled down my cheeks.

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  3. Anonymous10:22 am

    Kanhaiyalal Nandan and Sumitranandan Pant, pulp writers? and Yash Chopra reading them, wtf?

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  4. Anonymous8:21 pm

    i believe you did meet a great many people. :)

    smooches,
    Shlokles

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  5. the most novel account of the JLF thus far...thanx!

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  6. Hello,

    Hope you're well.

    Just checking you received the last message. Please could you let us know your email address, so we can send you the information deck which covers all things C+E in more detail.

    We would love for you to be involved!
    My email address is jrs@chorusandecho.com

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    Jean-Robert

    ReplyDelete