Last week I spent two days at the Jaipur Literary Festival, a festival of colors, words and enquiry. William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale were the directors for this monstrous festival, where one could see people from all over the world. As they rightly said in their opening speech, it was like a literary ‘Kumbh Mela’. As my friend and me entered the festival, we were struck by the diversity and energy of the place. The delegates and participants were welcomed by the organizers and it was a pleasure to see Rajasthan’s Chief minister, Vasundhara Raje Scindia, inaugurating the space along with industrialists Subhash Chandra Goel and Anand Mahindra. What Subhash Chandra Goel said resonated deeply with me, about not running after profits and money but to take time out for thinking and retrospection. Taking time for rejuvenating self and its awareness by being with Saraswati, instead of Lakshmi. This thought that he brought forward made me aware that probably the Indian Industrialists are also working towards permaculture, where working with nature is important. I remember as a young auditor visting one of Essel Propack’s plant in Wada, owned by Mr. Goel and was aghast to see the mound of plastic behind the factory. It had shaken me to know that this rejected plastic was majorly put underground, which killed any vegetation on that land. From that day to this day, I hope the proximity and care towards nature has increased, and what he was saying was not merely lip service.
William Dalrymple journeyed down the memory lane, and remembered the first time they had such a gathering there were only ten to fourteen people and today this is a global event. While I couldn’t make out easily, which countries the people and author’s belonged to, the outside speakers were mostly from Britain and America. Also with my limited knowledge as I attended only two days of the festival, I also didn’t observe any Blacks in the gathering. Also eminent Hindi writers were not present nor introduced. I came to a conclusion that this was an Awesome English Literary festival, with a flavor of India.
My life journey began in a small village in Kanpur, U.P. I was raised by my grandparents for the first four years of my life. During the day I found myself running amidst the farms and the open sky, squinting at the sun. At nights I would sleep under the stars counting them and making weird patterns. The moon was my sleep partner then. My writing journey began at the age of thirteen, in Mumbai, when I bunked a class and found myself hiding from my maths teacher, amongst children, who were writing poetry for a competition. I wrote too, and to my surprise after a week, I was announced as the winner. Couple of months later I found myself battling lung tuberculosis, I was in complete isolation, but poetry gave me company. I wrote some really dark poetry around life and death and how beautiful death was. My writing and my imagination since then has been my greatest friend and confidant.
After my Post graduation in Microbiology, I was hired as a Scientist by a Multinational organisation. However, my soul kept humming a different song, although I was considered to have high potential and was known to be highly competent. After my marriage and two children, and nine years of corporate career, I jumped into humanities. I started conducting leadership workshops and interventions for organizations and I still do. My work helps me connect with the various aspects of human behavior and thus takes me closer to experiencing more of who I am. As a life and executive coach to several people, I observe their brightness and beauty, in their language and actions, and help them to see what I see. This helps them unleash their own spontaneity and experience more of who they really are. My work is my passion and it helps me grow. It makes my writing become more mature and rooted. Both writing and painting are meditative processes for me and help me explore new worlds, while creating deeper presence for myself.
I love to indulge in life, and I cheer for the same. I get excited and enthused about new ideas and great stories. I cry watching emotional scenes in movies and can easily get hooked on to some romantic drama. I love gardening and can be seen communicating with my plants in the mornings over green tea.
Rest you will find in my posts here.
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