By the time I was into the fourth day of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2012 (JLF), my alienation with this one-of-its-kind festival was complete. I was going to stay for one more day for only two reasons:
1. My train back to Pune was only the next day
2. I wanted to catch a session where one of the chief guests was Rahul Bose.
JLF 2012 was a fair. A massive one. It boasted of many literary figures.
At the same time, it was also flooded with many socialites. These people gave the festival a very 'modern' look and feel.
However, it was also diluting the literaryness of the festival. The whole festival had become a caricature of itself.
And the other irritating part was the incessant crowd of school-going children. Not that they were present there just to enjoy, but a considerable percentage was out there only for a party.
At the end of every day, you would heave a sigh of relief than a score of satisfaction, yearning to go back to your hotel room and order some warm food.
I believe it would be much more prudent if the festival starts charging a certain entrance fee from next year in order to filter the crowd.
The JLF boasted of an army of thinkers, writers and intellectuals. However, the above mentioned reasons made it searingly painful to enjoy their company.
In retrospect, the music program held every evening after the end of the festival was a much better experience, since it had an entrance fee and had a filtered crowd.
Hope William Dalrymple has better ideas next time.