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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Literary Carnival ’13 at Mehboob Studio


What pleased me the most about this 3-days-Literary Carnival was that it was happening in my side of the city at Bandra and it was just an auto ride away from my house but the sad part was that I was busy with other appointments and was able to attend only a fraction of this event. But, whatever event I attended was very satisfying to my mind and soul.

This year, the theme revolved around ‘Romance, Love and Violence’ and most of the panel discussions were inextricably linked to these topics.


There were writers, poets, serious thinkers, students, the ambience was fully charged. Large open space occupied the center stage that was surrounded by food kiosks, bookstore and different venues. Those who sat in this open space socialized discussing books and their area of interests, a big serpentine queue waited patiently to get the autographed copy of their favorite writers and those who grabbed a snack or drink kept their attention focused on which event to attend next. The four venues (Adhitya Birla Hall, Yes Bank Hall, Lodha Hall, HDFC Home Loans Lawns) were few steps away from each other and it was easy to move in and out of venues and try to absorb all the conversations. Two big screens and clear audio system at every location made it possible to pay attention even from a distance.


Day one of Literary Carnival ’13, I sat in the open lawn to take part in a workshop on ‘How to attract eye-balls on the story’ It was an hour session during which Indira Chandrashekar of ‘Out Of Print’ brought to our attention that the opening paragraphs of a short story should be powerful enough to arouse an interest of the reader. "There should be the element of curiosity" she said. She read an opening paragraph from a book ‘Too Much Happiness’ by Alice Munro and participants were asked to analyze the story. During the second segment of the session, she read an opening paragraph from her own story ‘She Can Sing’ and participants were asked to create a follow up and write a story.  Listening to the different perspective to the same opening paragraph of the story was very enlightening.


The session at ‘Yes Bank Hall’ on ‘If Food Be The Music Of Love’ was an enlightening one. We were given a box of chocolates, asked to eat one and share the emotion connected with it. Chocolate creates much pleasure on our moods. The session went on to discuss the different kinds of foods and its’ aphoristic effect on our emotions. Some Hollywood filmstrips were also shown where food plays the important part in producing sensuality. The sex associated with different fruits and spices was discussed. I realized, I was attending the session on sex and sensuality when I had thought I would learn some tricks on how to write on food literature…but it was an interesting session and I start to look at food with different approach… Madhu Jain, Managing editor of IQ, moderated the session with Prabeen Singh, food columnist, Pushpesh Pant, author of many cookbooks, and Fantasie Fine Chocolate entrepreneur Zeba Kohli as the guests..

'At Lodha Hall', I attended two sessions in a row: History and Fiction, ‘Blurring the lines’ and ‘How many liberties can a biographer take?’ It was interesting to hear the experiences of the historians and how they dealt with sensitive topics, especially of the living person and how much liberties can one take while writing fiction in real cities. A lot of research is required to get the facts right and one may even have to go to live in that city for months to understand the history of that city.


While the day was spend attending panel discussions of well-known authors or attending some literary workshops, evening was magical at Literature Carnival in Bandra. The music dominated the attention of every person at the open-air lawn, all mesmerized by sounds of sitar strings that were interspersed with the poetry of Hafeez and other Sufi mystics. Many people were busy with their mobiles checking their email or chatting on Watsapp, but their feet moved to the rhythm of the music that floated easily in the air....

The event was very well organized with volunteer fully in control working to their best of their efficiency. I think Mehboob studio is the perfect venue to hold such kind of events.


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