That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longing, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”~F.Scott.Fitzgerald
Being a bibliophile and an ardent literature lover, I wait for the #TataSteelKalam Kolkata Literary Meet every year to listen to my favorite authors, discover new books and attend interesting sessions. This year, the Kolkata Literary Meet was a 5 day literary festival from 25th January to 29th January at the Victoria Memorial Hall. The festival was inaugurated by acclaimed novelist, Anita Desai.
The literary sessions were hosted at the two venues of Victoria Memorial Hall – Son-et-Lumiere and Western Quadrangle. Some of the sessions of Tata Steel Kalam also took place at the Calcutta Club. Over 130 celebrated authors, filmmakers and thinkers from various countries assembled at the literary festival to share their thoughts and views.
I went to the Kolkata Literary Meet three days and attended some enriching sessions. On January 26th, I was fortunate to attend one of my favorite authors, Ruskin Bond’s session “Thrills and Spills” where Ruskin Bond discussed why hills are the perfect setting for murders and mystery. It was a great experience when Ruskin Bond read one of the stories from his latest book “Death under the deodars”.
It was an amazing session, especially when the audience was given the chance to ask him questions. I asked him about one of his short stories, “The Night train at Deoli” and was overjoyed when he answered me. After his session, the audience was told that Ruskin Bond would be signing books at the author’s lounge. Finally, I got the opportunity to have a signed copy and meet my favorite author personally.
On January 27th, I attended the session “Acts of Faith” where Javed Akhtar, Tabish Khair, Mudar Patherya and Shazia Omar discussed about the challenges of Islamophobia, stereotypes and radicalization. It was a very enriching session and I especially loved hearing Javed Akhtar whose views were refined and powerful.
Then, I attended the next session “Pink and the power of No” where Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Andrea Tariang and Ritesh Shah spoke about the importance of the movie “Pink”. They were in conversation with author, Kunal Basu. It was a very engaging session where the audience asked plenty of questions to the director about the movie and the change it brought in the mindset of people.
I also went to the festival on the final day, 29th January. I attended the Children’s Literary Meet Special with Indian sports’ golden boy, Abhinav Bindra and Joybeer Dutta Gupta. The Olympic gold medalist in shooting talked about his journey, his failures and success. It was very motivating when he spoke about the importance of dreams in the life of every person. He said that hard work and persistence are the only way to success. When someone from the audience asked him about the role of his parents, he said that his parents supported and encouraged him whenever he had failures and felt like giving up.
I enjoyed the session “Make up your mind” where Nandana Sen and Nabaneeta Dev Sen read poetry from their latest book “Make up your mind”. The award winning poet, Nabaneeta Dev Sen spoke about Nandana’s translations of her poetry. It was a sheer treat to see the mother and daughter bond on poetry. Overall, I had a great time at the #TataSteelKalam Kolkata Literary Festival. At the end of the festival, my literary appetite is well satiated with new books to read.
It is wonderful to see that Tata recognizes the role of literature and is contributing so much to secure the literature culture in Kolkata. The Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet brings the literary stalwarts from all corners of the world. It gives people a forum to speak their mind and interact with the authors. It encourages the lovers of literature to explore the world of ideas and words without any hesitation. The people of Kolkata look forward to the Kolkata Literary Meet every winter as it gives them the chance to rediscover or rather “readiscover” books.