'Three' Cheers for JLF!

The recently concluded Jaipur Literature Festival was, as always a five-day heaven on Earth for literary enthusiasts across the world. The magnitude of the festival was larger, the organization was flawless and the crowd was huge. Of course the majority of people who thronged the festival were there either to take selfies, or to eat at the food stalls or to browse through the festival as if they were health inspectors or simply to update a 'check-in' status at the JLF 2014 for a style symbol on Facebook.

But my applause goes especially to the three primary things that made me love JLF 2014 like never before, three special points that need a special mention, and therefore, here are my THREE cheers for Jaipur Literature Festival 2014 -

1. Creating Controversies is easy, curbing them is not - For a festival as enormous in dimensions as the JLF happening in a country like India, controversies are bound to happen. But it is totally amazing to see that JLF and its producers do not ride on controversies for popularity. With the anti-Ekta Kapoor slogans being shouted at the session against her TV soap 'Jodha Akbar', the police and the security ensured that the protesters were pushed outside the venue in a matter of few minutes and continuing the session without any disruption. The event was not highlighted at all and was surprisingly taken in a stride by Ekta Kapoor as well.

2. Absence, but persistence - This season of JLF witnessed a lot of big celebrity sessions being cancelled due to the absence of the speakers, but they were very swiftly replaced with other speakers and sessions which maintained the charm, and no one actually bothered about the absence. With crowd-pullers such as Javed Akhtar, Shashi Tharoor and Mary Kom not turning up at the last moment, JLF rightly justified itself being the World's largest free literature festival.

3. Rain, Rain go away, not an issue even if you stay - The heavy and unexpected downpour in the city of Jaipur early in the morning of 21st January 2014, which was the last day of JLF created an air of doubt among the participants about the management at Hotel Diggi Palace. But on reaching the hotel, everybody realized that the venues had been immediately shifted and backup plans had been effectively enacted upon. In fact, to make the rains even more lovable, a special counter for hot tea with dal ke pakode was set up in no time. The organizers presented an exemplary presentation of 'The Show Must Go on'.

These were the five days of the year which are truly awaited literally like a 'festival'. Going into the sessions and which one was the best or had most to offer would take up a lot of space and time. But kudos to the organizers and a huge cheer for the festival directors for holding yet another successful season of Jaipur Literature Festival.

I also attach some self-clicked pictures of JLF, there are no selfies, no high definition shots, no food stalls, no fashion statements in the following pictures. Just pure, pristine and the real essence of JLF and a glimpse of a few sessions -

The First day at JLF, the crowd starts to throng the venue!

An esteemed panel of C.P. Deval, Mahmood Farooqui, Arjun Dev Charan, Prahlad Shakhawat and Irrfan Khan discussing the epic storyteller Vijaydan Detha

Somnath Batayabal, Raj Kundra and Arghya Lehri about their respective books on white collar crimes and thrillers.

Discussing Bollywood: Vamsee Juluri, Irrfan Khan and Meghnad Desai

A beautiful photography workshop by Dayanita Singh where she beautifully established a link between photography and literature

An intense discussion on 'Why India Votes' by Manvendra Singh, Mukulika Banerjee and Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay in conversation with Sudhir Chaudhary

A jam packed writing workshop by Jerry Pinto where the crowd was literally ROFL!

The most awaited session - Amish Tripathy is a candid conversation on a chilled morning

Amish Tripathy launched "Book of Spice" by Vikas Khanna

A fiery session moderated by Ravish Kumar on 'Raj and Samaj: Democracy and the People' with a panel of Kalyani Shankar, Navin Chawla and Pavan Kumar

A full house at the session "Blue Planet, Green Earth" by Shekhar Pathak, Suman Sahai in conversation with Ahmad Rafay Alam

A session for just laughing out loud - by Indrajit Hazra, Shovon Chowdhary and Bachi Karkariya

"Each Others' Stories" - a session by the TV queen Ekta Kapoor

A soulful session by Sonam Kalra on Finding your Voice!

Not a very clear picture, but a glimpse of the grand finale debate on "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest" moderated by Sanjoy Roy with reputed speakers such as Murli Manohar Joshi, Shazia Ilmi (both can be seen in the background a little blurred), Indrajit Hazra etc. 

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