Over the past year, there has been a surge in both literary festivals and eager book enthusiasts attending them. I don’t blame them. In a time where books stores are perilously on the verge of extinction and one seldom comes across people who take unrestrained joy in the humble art of reading, it is quite justified for the endangered lot to try and seek others of their kind.
Book lovers have always taken immense pride in their love for literature. And it cannot be denied that they don’t miss any opportunity for preaching it. After all, it is a morally and emotionally uplifting experience, to live someone else’s life through pages.
I have myself not have had the honor of attending a Lit fest till now. But my imagination has teleported me to one plenty of times. My eyes twinkle and my heart leaps at the thought of seeing Markus Zusak or Stephen Chbosky.
Or the more coveted spirits of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Tolkien for that matter.
The mere thought of standing under the same roof with the person who gave you a story to live is enough to make me seethe. People who gave us timeless heroes to count on. And in whose fictional company, we never felt alone.
I have to mention that once in 2013 I had the great privilege of meeting Ruskin Bond. Probably one of the greatest short story writers alive in our times. The funny thing is, I always envisaged and framed all the various questions I’d ask him (if I ever met him) but upon seeing him, it all blacked out. All my brain could calibrate was the fact that I was sitting next to a man who gave us a childhood. And it was a while when I realised I had to breathe.
Despite the giddy feeling of being in the presence of an author there are plenty other things that make a lit fest stand out. The most adored being in the presence of other bookworms. The ‘endangered specie’ I mentioned above. People who wallow in literature as much as you do.
People who appreciate words over a tv screen. Who, like you, have also resorted to reading to find an escape from the vast, recluse and solitary world of social media. They’re not found in pubs or malls, neither will they be found on the streets dominated by a society of burgeoning extroverts.
They will be found amassed at places like a lit fest. Thus it gives us the pleasure of being in cherished propinquity with others of our kind. We share, discuss, laugh and most of all are relieved that we’re not alone.
New books are discovered, new ideas unearthed and new perspectives are brought to light. Something these ostensible online bookstores cannot provide you. There’s only so much options an online portal can give, for there’s always a hurry of putting things in your ‘cart.’
Unlike a regular festival that caters to your need of worldly pleasures, a Literary Festival is a festival for your mind and soul. It nurtures your need for bookish pleasure and welcomes your enthusiasm for words.
Not everyone can enjoy that place. Only the voracious readers will feel at home. Only they will feel among family.
In a world where almost everything is either transformed or elevated to a trend, literature still remains a most raw and un-tarnished form of pleasure.
It’s not like it wasn’t tried and tested by the growing likes of pretentious freaks. But they couldn’t succeed in glamourising it.
Thank God literature requires brains to understand it.
It is both a relief and felicity to know that in a world outrageously dominated by hashtags and filters, there still are some humble souls who appreciate the power of words.
Have a great week ahead!