Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BLF Part 2

The most important sessions of Day 2 were missed and the others were not worth mentioning, so I directly jump to Day 3, where we had some really interesting sessions.


I was right in time for the session with Amish Tripathi. For all those who were mesmerized by The Mahabharata, Ramayana you’d know how great it is to have a mythology told in a way that makes it very interesting. Amish is someone who did exactly that by taking up Lord Shiva as the protagonist and fictionalizing it so that every modern day reader relates to it.

It so sinks in that you are driven to indulge in the mythological secrets yourself and find out how did things happens back then. The setup is that of the time when the civilizations were just taking place and there was a very different yet poignant belief system. During the times of the Suryawanshis and Chandrawanshis, there existed a Hero, Shiva.

Immortals of Meluha was a book which brought back the tradition of Puranas and Vedas being told in a way that they sound more like fiction and intriguing enough to keep the readers glued. Even though the language used doesn’t match  up to the standards of the present day literature, but like Amish himself said, that the setup goes so many thousand years back, that recreating that era with full justification would mean to express it in the language that existed then.

English or any other form is a way of expressing the writer’s interpretation of the mythology.
The Secret of the Nagas was the second book, and while quoting a few instances from that book Amish made sure that he did not let out the secret or name of that character which changed the entire plot and flow of the story. The most interesting bit, he kept reserved and answered the questions of the audience so that they were forced sink into the curiosity further more.

The religious knowledge that Amish holds and his depth into the mythology and our ancient scriptures is so strong that he was able to answer any question related to any of the Gods with so much audacity that we couldn’t question him again. He had done his homework very well.

There was a question about the sequence of Dashavatara being incorrectly mentioned in the novel by Amish, to which the questioner insisted that it was very disturbing as it gives a wrong impression to the youngsters who read Amish’s book. Amish replied, “There are numerous versions of the Puranas, and Ramayana. The Avtaars of Vishnu appearing in a particular order is just a myth. The interpretations are different and I have my right of expressing the interpretation of the Truth.”
He insisted and has also mentioned in his book that “The truth is one. Wise men take is as many”

Amish, answering a serious question

So there exists only one truth, which perhaps no one knows, except Shiva, but there are many interpretations and they cannot be questioned as there are numerous versions and interpretation of the Puranas and Vedas that exist.
His explanations were easy to understand, given the intelligence of the audience.

I had my own question which was nowhere related to religious contradictions. I was only eager about the part 3 of the series – The Oath of the Vayuputras, and I asked him what the reason for the delay was? Was it some criticism, resistance or feedback from the religious sects that made him put aside or revise his third book, or was it something else?

He laughed first, at my impatience for Part three and said that he has been really lucky to have not faced any criticism from political parties like BJP, RSS or any religious sects. The only reason why the third book has been delayed is because it’s a really long book, as big as the first two combined.  He apologized for the delayed release and said that it will be in the market early next year.

I was excited and happy to meet him. It’s always great to meet your favorite authors and see someone who creates incredible fictions with utmost simplicity, in person. BLF mostly had all the talents personified.


Amish left and his session was followed by a brigade of new authors who had just published their books. They were, SudeepNagarkar, Aroon Raman, YasminPremji, ShefaliVasudev, and Vikrant Dutta. They shared how they came up with their novels, the problems that they went through while writing it and how they struggled to get it published.

The new writers in conversation

They were asked about how did they organize their schedule of writing to which Aroon Raman replied that one has to be disorganized while it comes to writing. I agreed. One never knows when one gets that flash, idea and mood to write. He said one cannot be “the best Employee” and have 25% appraisal and exceed expectations at work and still end up writing a novel. You have to sit at work and pretend that you are typing away something important but you should actually be typing something that makes sense to you. That’s how he came up with his novel and I could so relate with him, because that is how even I blog ;)

Aroon Raman telling about his writing routine
During the unproductive spans at work, which happen quite often, I write blog posts or chapters of a fiction and update it later in the night on my blog. I think if that is the way, then I am good. Well a few of the other new authors had a very strict regime, some wrote away for 10 hours in a day whereas some have been working on their novels since 20 years! It’s all different for different people but at the end of the day what matters is that they did come up with their works!

Marketing of novels and then maintaining the popularity is another thing which is very essential these days. Novels do not only sell by the content they hold, they need 50% marketing and selling techniques to be applied to get a large response from the crowd.
It was a good learning experience listening to all these new writers.


After this session, there was a discussion on Bangalore/Bengaluru : Multiple cities, which had eminent panelists like Dr.Ananthamurthy, Shobha De, TV Mohandas Pai, Actress Ramya, and Prakash Belawadi. I did not know anyone but Shobha De. She is one lady whom I admire and hate at the same time. She is a great columnist, so opinionated that she usually ends up offending many readers, but she still maintains her side and sticks to her word. But the way she looks down on others is too obvious. I hate her for her attitude, but respect her for her bluntness!

The Elite Panelists

The discussion was good. I had nothing much to do or contribute anything, so I simply observed the debate getting more interesting, with direct verbal attacks. It was a sight to watch!


After this, there was a session about Scripting India. There were two authors, who had written books about India, and their books were released at BLF that day.

Then began the discussion about the way India is scripted in media, books and otherwise. Sir Mark Tully, Nandan Nilekani, Sanjeev Sanyal, Akash Banerjee and Akash Kapoor were in the panel which was being moderated by Pavan Varma, who provoked the panel at so many levels that it resulted in a very intriguing confab. It was a very stimulating discussion and forced the audience to think about it.

Scripting India

I got up and left midway, because I realized I had forgotten to have lunch and I was starving. That’s what Litfests sometime do to me!

I left while Shobha De was releasing her new book – Sethji. I wasn’t too interested in her work. After visiting the book store and picking up a few more interesting reads, I left for home.

I realized, it’s indeed liberating to be a part of something that makes you happy from inside. It reminded me of a few dreams that I had weaved long ago, but had forgotten to realize them in the process of living life so perfunctorily.

I think it’s time for another round of introspection!


PS: Yes, all of a sudden I have a lot of things to blog about! I am glad I went to BLF.
@chetan_bhagat, THANKS! J   #twitter