Apeejay Kolkata Lit Fest 2015

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

To be frank, I hadn’t attended any Literary Festival until the Apeejay Kolkata Lit Fest 2015. It’s a shame, yes. But most of the earlier editions in various cities were either on days I was busy/away or priced hefty for each day/session. Not getting into the issue of priced sessions versus sponsored ones, I found the Kolkata Lit Fest mostly free, which encourages bloggers and aspiring writers like me to indulge only in time for a possible interaction with interesting authors.

Since it began on a Wednesday, the 14th of January, it wasn’t possible for me to attend each day or event. I studied the schedule carefully and chose my favourites. Day 2 – 15th of January seemed the best bet. There were two book launches slated for the afternoon by two very important authors in Indian English Literature – Shashi Tharoor and Upamanyu Chatterjee. There was a bonus privilege of watching Jeet Thayil converse with his exact contemporary Chatterjee. Who would miss the chance of meeting three of the quirkiest, wittiest and most interesting authors of our era? We jumped on the bandwagon and reached the venue – Indian Council for Cultural Relations at Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Calcutta.

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CalcuttaScape : Laxmi Hariharan

Presenting a new section to the readers : CalcuttaScape. It would be a guest column on One and a Half Minutes, in which published authors will write about their experiences on visits to Calcutta. I will be approaching non-resident authors who have visited for a vacation or stayed in Calcutta for a short while.

I know, dear readers, the first question cropping in your mind would be, why Calcutta? I’m not sure if I have a satisfactory answer for this one. It is my city, at times it has been my muse, it has been a companion in my early adult years, it has been a witness to a major part of my life. This is probably my way of paying a tribute to Calcutta, by bringing to you words flown from famous authors, on a city that never ceases to amaze.

The third article in this column is from Laxmi Haraharan, a Kindle bestselling author and blogger for Huffington Post.


The Calcutta Comeuppance 

Image Courtesy: Author

Image Source: ehttp://wordhavering.wordpress.com

Over the years my father has let small clues spill about his past. He lived in Calcutta when he was starting out on his career as a trainee bank officer. I pieced together a picture of the girl he had met here. One who loved to dance the twist and drink lots of cha. She was a widow, someone who flaunted societal rules to enjoy life. He had been enamoured with her but chose

to move on, knowing he wasn’t strong enough to face up to his family and society to marry her. At least that’s what he told me. When he speaks of her, I see the look of a man frozen at the crossroads of life from which he has never really moved and yet lived a lie. But leave he did. Then it was my turn to meet the city.

Calcutta had always seemed to be in a dimension apart. As if it were this planet existed on one plane and that exalted epitome of imagination on the other. Did I have enough soul to be accepted into its fold, I wondered as I walked through Park Street hand in hand with a man who was born in a street not too far away. He, whose parents met in this city fifty years earlier; they had been together since.

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