January 26 is a very important day, for Australians. Also, Indians.
For Australians, its called Australia Day, although some just call it Friday. In India, we call it Republic Day. (I can’t believe, I have to inform you about this, dear reader). However, the Aussies celebrate theirs with a lot of meat and drink, we celebrate ours with lots of flag hoisting and marching.
Also, for us the celebratory drink is generally jal-jeera, which is a step up from the old nimbu paani — a clear indicator that our economy is booming. And, that at least in the beverage market, we have made glorious strides forward. A proud fact — India is the highest exporter and consumer of jal-jeera in the entire world. So, heads must be held high.
The Hindu Lit Fest 2024 LIVE updates
In India, (I write this paragraph for foreigners only, fellow Indians please skip to the next one), the Republic Day parade from Kartavya Path to Red Fort is an exceptional visual-and-audio spectacle. Those invited by the Government for the event are the crème de la crème of Indian achievers and movers and shakers. Also, a few of them are really rich. This year, again the rich and powerful were present for the parade. Sadly, this year again, once again, I was ignored. This has upset my wife, who feels my contribution to our nation building has been continuously bypassed and gone unrecognised.
However, people, all is not lost, as I did get another invite. Okay, it wasn’t a full invite, it was more like a veiled suggestion. An offhand remark. Somebody in the catering section of this prestigious newspaper told someone, who is a second cousin to a neighbour from our building colony, that it would be almost okay if Cyrus (that’s the name of this columnist, as per his Aadhaar card), could drop in for about five minutes but no longer than seven minutes to The Hindu Litfest in Chennai on January 26, his commitments to the Republic Day ceremony, notwithstanding. And that’s how I received this great honour to attend and be part of The Hindu Litfest — 2024.
Here are my tips and insights about the festival:
1. It will be held on January 26 and 27.
2. As I haven’t decided the venue, I’ll only be able to tell you by the evening of January 27.
3. Many greats have been featured before, such as George Bernard Shaw, Balzac, Munto and Muntojee’s father.
4. From this year onwards, due to huge budget constraints, item numbers will not be performed.
5. Many modern greats won’t be able to make it, as they still are stuck in Ayodhya, where fog condition persists.
So, please, try and make it. And even if this is published after the festival is over, still please try and come! Since Chennai is always on time, visiting Delhites and Mumbaikars will be given earlier dates, just to be sure.
PS: To further entice you Padma Shri Anu Menon, and Padma Vibhushan, will also be there.
Cyrus Broacha, Kannan Gill and Anuradha Menon with be in conversation with Suresh Balakrishna on a panel titled May I Have Your Attention Please: How to Hold an Audience. The session is on January 26 from 2.10pm to 3.10pm at The Hindu Pavilion, Sir Mutha Concert Hall, Harrington Road.
The writer has dedicated his life to communism. Though only on weekends.