Jaipur is insatiably beautiful. From beneath the squalor and decay, can still be felt the pink sands of time and matter that form the legacy of this ancient city that juggles with some grace, the modern and the antiquated.
The cities beauty stands out for me because it is an unadorned one: its certainly not an obvious beauty, in fact its a rather oblivious one.
But at some level, it is also a taken-for-granted regal, yet unnoticed one.
Beauty is in the bones of Rajasthan.
I have the pleasure of being here at a time when the city is host to both a Literary Festival as well as a Heritage Festival. These are run in parallel, creating a rather combustable creative energy. And sparks fly! Like when Prof Nandini Sundar of Delhi University says, "Fuck the State! We will be heard!" or when Hanif Qureshi says, "when all those rather confused pieces come together to make sense of identit(ies), then we call that literature" and even more so when Asma Jehangir says that she's disappointed with India's arrogance while admitting that Pakistan is 'the menace'. Or Girish Karnad's comment earlier today when he said that VS Naipual must have been stone deaf. Why? Because he wrote about India, but he failed to write anything at all about music, and it's indelible influence and meaning in the Indian context.
Sparks fly, indeed, when you find yourself at the core of a melting pot of grand ideas, challenging minds and fanciful collaborations.
I've also managed to see two plays at the Birla Auditorium, thanks to the Heritage Festival and the Jaipur Virasat Foundation. One, 'Salesman Ramlal' is the Hindi adaptation of Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman', and features a cast including Satish Kaushik as Ramlal and his wife played by Seema Biswas... and the other was directed by Naseeruddin Shah. Comprehensive reviews to follow. I'm not quite quenched with this cup of Jaipur dynamism, drink on, drink on!
With much love from my moonlit hotel room,
at almost 2a.m. Indian time,
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