Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Panelist at AKLitFest

On Sunday evening I was a panelist at the final discussion on a day of many conversations at the Apeejay Kolkata LitFest. Ifte, Indroneel Mukherjee, Sarnath Banerjee and I debated among ourselves whether the youth could rejuvenate Kolkata culture. I was billed as a blogger, which was both newish and rather cool. I am more commonly known as a writer person, a theatre person, a Blank Noise person or even just your average opinionated person.

We appointed Sarnath moderator, which he rather sportingly took on. He introduced us to the audience and set the ball rolling with the first few questions. We talked about the ways in which we made changes in our lives (me), found inspiration in our city (Ifte) and found our passions (Indroneel). We wondered about who exactly the 'youth' were, and whether it was really incumbent upon them to rejuvenate anything. Wasn't it their time to absorb, learn and experiment? We ended up concluding that we, in our 30s, considered ourselves bridges of a kind, able to understand the point our parents were trying to make but yet with considerable sympathy for the idealism of our younger selves. As such, it was certainly pertinent that we 'creative types' understand the effect our work would have on younger audiences. Do we inspire them? Hopefully we do. Is that the primary focus of our creativity? Not by a long chalk (Sarnath). Poorna was in the audience and spoke about finding direction. A teacher in the audience asked what advice we would offer for seventeen year-olds who had not yet found their passion and did not know what to work towards. I advised them to take up the courses that kept their options open. Ifte disagreed -- but that's where we wound up because our time was up. It had been fun, more fun than I'd hoped for. Here we are with our gift bags at the end of the discussion.

Shuktara had come and it was very nice to have her sitting up front, laughing at the occasional funny bit, keenly listening to all that was said. In fact, I have to say we got lucky with our audience because the numbers had thinned but the ones who remained gave us their full attention.

Afterwards, Shuki and I spent a couple of hours chatting over hot chocolate, coffee and sandwiches at The Cha Bar before finally heading home exhausted but content. Guddi had dropped in for lunch so I'd had a full day, but it was a very satisfying one.


Sri said...

You look so pretty!

Love your saree as well..

Sue said...

Sri -- Thank you :) I love that saree too.