The Zee Jaipur Literature festival begins today at the majestic Diggi Palace. As last minute work was getting wrapped up at the festival venue, a few kilometres away, the lawns of the Taj Rambaugh Palace played host to a group of writers, editors and other literary celebrities.
Overheard were a lot of lively debates on global issues, films and cinema, a heated one on the next Egyptian revolution, on homophobia in literature and even one on public speaking in India.
Some women were busy making plans to meet for tea, while others were found making a beeline to meet one of the organisers, William Dalrymple.
One of the attendees, a feminist in the group around Amartya Sen, was heard talking about how Indian men would never come out and admit to beating their wives.
The Jaipur cold was kept at bay by small coal fires strategically placed at various corners. The entertainment came from a live band that had two women in heavy Kanjeevaram sarees playing the instrumental versions of Staying Alive, Jaane ja, and other old Hindi numbers on the saxophone.
Former advertising professional and dna writer Suhel Seth, spotted talking to a dapper looking actor Irrfan Khan, said: “I’ve been coming here every year; I’ve seen this grow from strength to strength.”
Author Samantha Shannon, the stately young lady better known for her debut novel and for being tagged the next JK Rowling, was spotted mingling with others. Those who have read The Bone Season will be happy to learn that the second book in the series will be out this year.
Also spotted at the party was economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, looking as one of the guests said, a bit frail. On being asked if he ever wanted to write a book, his answer was a firm no.
The party is just a prelude to the litfest. The next five days will be host to a lot more lively debates and fascinating conversations on global issues.