A team of 16 students from YPS, Mohali attended the Chandigarh literature festival held in Govt. College Girls, sector-11 Chandigarh.
We attended three sessions on the books Padmaavat, The Other, and Diwali in Muzaffarnagar.
The first session was hosted by critic Krishna Kumar, who interviewed the writer of the book Purshotam Agrawal. The book highlighted the theme of uncontrolled desire leading to destruction and was based on the work of Sufi poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s epic poem ‘Padmavat’. It not only speaks about the beauty and intelligence of the queen, but also her special bond with Hiraman, her parrot and true friend. The book is an ode to love and the critic captured the interest of the audience throughout its duration.
In the second session, critic Swati Daftaur was in conversation with the author Paro Anand. ‘The Other’ is a collection of short stories which talks about those issues which people are afraid to address openly and manages to give words to such questions. The title is apt as it distances these people from the so called normal people for various reasons. The author spoke about children who were nomads, victims of various social and political catastrophes, those abused in the Kashmir Riots, those having special needs and victims of rape. Many a times the writer left a blank page when she was lost for words in highly tense situations, also known as the writer’s block. The session was widely appreciated by the audience and made us empathise with her characters.
The final session before lunch was on the book ‘Diwali in Muzaffarnagar’ by Tanuj Solanki, which was a collection of short stories to reminisce about his life in his hometown of Muzaffarnagar. The author spoke about the differences between small towns and bigger cities, and how despite living in Mumbai his entire adult life, a part of him will always belong to his hometown.
The students asked precise, appropriate questions and certainly made best use of the opportunity given to them by the school. The visit was inspiring, knowledgeable and fun.