Cyrus Broacha’s tribute to The Hindu Litfest 2024

Feb 9, 2024

Satish Velinezhi

Satish Velinezhi | Photo Courtesy: Satish Velinezhi

Before I start talking about the topic of the day (which has not been chosen yet because the committee that decides it is out of town), I would like to consider this hindu LitFest 2024, which I participated in to some extent a fortnight ago.

First of all, let me clarify that this was not my idea. Having said that, I must say, it was well organized and very well conducted. (I may have been asked to say this, yet, I may not have said it. You'll never know, dear reader). Personally, it was a complete triumph. I felt like Julius Caesar returning home after subduing the Gauls, and not just because of my receding hairline.

At least two people recognized me, although one was the Uber driver who had bought us to the venue, and apparently had not been paid in full. Then again, he may just be an avid reader struggling to get in. Who's to say that yesterday's hungry reader isn't today's Uber driver?

Let us now look at the event at which I was a part of a prestigious panel in January. I think, our topic was either, 'How to capture the audience's attention?' Or, 'How to make more changes to the paperback edition than the hard-cover edition?'. Sadly, I don't really remember because I wasn't paying attention at the time.

Here's what I remember. There were people there. On stage, we had the beautiful Anu Menon, the extremely popular Kanan Gill and director Suresh Balakrishnan. The power trio had a huge advantage over me. Each of them had read at least one complete book. I am not making any promises here, but I will go out on a limb and say, in Suresh's case, the rumor is a baseless rumor – he may have even read two. Despite this heavy loss, I managed to survive the session. I did this by following the same principles I apply to keeping my marriage alive. That's staying silent for a long time, and interspersing that silence with “sorry.”

Now, I want to re-highlight some highlights, which cannot be recreated, because they have all been recorded and uploaded to YouTube. As we know, everything on YouTube is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

The session began with Kannan falling backwards from his chair. Why did he do this, even Kannan would not know! Medicine and a direct challenge to Newton's law of gravity were blamed. Then better sense prevailed and we all blamed the chair. Anu and Kannan answered all the questions with embarrassing ease. Questions ranged from a comparative study of the works of Victor Hugo, Leo Tolstoy and Saadat Hasan Manto to how do you pronounce Ayodhya correctly.

At the end of the session, Anu, Kannan and Suresh hugged each other and cried – Anu and Suresh, for the love generated for them by the community that afternoon, and Kannan for the intense back pain. (At the time of writing, the pain is quite severe, so much so that Kanan is having trouble even walking his dog. Oops, sorry, I'm right – not from walking his dog, just reading this from walking.) The poor dog is forced to walk on his own.

So sorry guys, I may have been forced to write this tribute hindu Litfest 2024, I don't have time to write on any topic of this column. This may be a matter of relief for you. However, this is even more painful for me. The successful search for failure continues. untill we meet again hindu Litfest 2025. meendum sandhippom (Just learning Tamil).

The author has dedicated his life to communism. Although only on weekends.

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