As the name of my blog suggests, two things I love the most in the whole wide world are doodling and traveling. This year I got a smashing birthday gift, I got to attend the Jaipur Literature Festival over my birthday weekend- a fully sponsored trip at that! The catch- I had to live doodle for Ford India’s speaker sessions at the Samvad arena. Not a catch really because doodling is what I absolutely enjoy doing.
How it all happened:
A Twitter message on lazy Tuesday morning followed by a call with the folks at Ford India on Wednesday and I was off to Jaipur on Thursday evening armed with a sketchbook, black pens, laptop and a Wacom tablet. Touchdown Jaipur and there I found myself at the Trident hotel overlooking the stunning Jal Mahal.
At the dinner table I found myself in the company of senior executives from Ford India, an explorer poet and photographer, a fashion blogger, movie makers, and a journalist. What an eclectic mix of people! Some pretty interesting conversations took place as we gorged on the scrumptious Rajasthani food. The calories were burned with a stroll on the Man Sagar lake promenade. It was a cold January evening and darkness had descended upon the city with a few street lights lining up the deserted roads. There was a sense of calm.
The Jaipur Literature Festival
The Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) has featured on my bucket list ever since I’d first heard of it. Imagine the joys of attending book meets, hearing your favourite authors read passages of their latest works, a chance to get autographed works and interact with them…I could go on. Basically, my inner pseudo intellectual got her fair share of happiness.
Being Ford India invitees, we got all access Press passes which meant access to author terraces, invite only sessions, private lunch arenas, after parties and a JLF goodie bag! I spent my days soaking in intellectual, insightful and interesting tales recited by some of the best known authors. Devdutt Pattnaik, Shabana Azmi, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to name a few, my afternoons were spent in the company of the elite sipping some red wine talking literature in the gorgeous tents at the Diggi Palace (still can’t believe this happened) and evenings at gatherings attended by the likes of Shashi Tharoor, Suhel Seth and Vishal Bharadwaj to name a few. This was definitely turning out to be the best birthday ever!
Other things to do in Jaipur:
Jaipur, being the capital city of Rajasthan is replete with everything you have ever associated with Rajasthan. The colours, the fancy havelis, royalty, food and culture. I didn’t have much time to explore the city at my pace but I didn’t miss out on a visit to the Hawa Mahal, some oxidised jewellery shopping at Johari Bazaar and gorging on ghewar and pyaaz ki kachori at the famous Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar.
Pretty sure I missed out on a lot of things, especially the Amer Fort as well as city hopping. Jaipur is definitely on the cards for a repeat visit!