I told you - Life is arbitrary!! You never know what is going to come out of this box of chocolates. The last November saw me in ruins and in December, I was torn apart between one of my toughest struggles in personal life and one of my grandest successes in professional life. And then there was January!! The month (and the year, in fact) began on a really empty note and the end of it... well, end was so fulfilling that I can easily label this January as one of my luckiest months.
In the last ten days of the last month, I have been through heaven - if heaven is like living through a bit of all my dreams. The lucky run began with my visit to Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF). I know I have already blabbered too much about the JLF but then, the experience is worth much more. I got to see, listen, meet, and sometimes, closely interact with the beloved luminaries. The most memorable moments will be those lemon-mint teas with Gulzar and that fatherly pat and advice from Sheen Kaaf Nizam, one of the greatest Urdu scholars of modern times. I got to recite before the two maestros, won accolades from them, and Nizam even encouraged me to write more as a professional.
And as if that wasn't exhilarating enough. During the JLF, I crashed into an old friend from Lucknow, who was there with two seniors from IIMA. They introduced me to Caferati - the literary discussions group - where I got to meet many more beautiful people. I got to know closely K. Satchidanandan, the Sahitya Academy Award winner and a noted poet, critique, and a very nice man. And there, as I recited one of my poems, I got the best translator I ever had. Since there were many non-Hindi members, Annie Zaidi translated my poem impromptu and at places, I thought it was better than the original. The dreamy run in Jaipur was so good that even my trains both ways were dot on time - Indian railways contributed its bit too.
And when I came back, another pleasant surprise was awaiting me. The nature club of IIMA - Prakriti - had postponed its bird sanctuary for some reason. Although I didn't register for it, I was invited to join as a guide for bird-watching. That was the highest reward for my 'bird-brain' I ever had :D
The icing on the cake was Chaos 2010 - the annual cultural fest of IIMA. The celebrations began with a rendition by Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and ended with a DJ night. And in between the two, I had a night full of dancing in Sonu Nigam's concert, Sufi concert by Kavita Seth, an acting workshop by Cyrus Dastur, a play by Tom Alter and Cyrus Dastur, Choreography and fashion parade by many colleges and fun n frolic all around the campus.
However, in this euphoria of events, I also had a small contribution. Thanks to the event coordinators - Jhandoo and Mundu, who agreed with my idea of an Urdu poetry workshop. It was my life's first workshop, in which I was on the other side of the table. Although the turnout was low with six people only, there were two professors and in all, a learned and interested audience. It went great because at the end of the workshop, I got a recommendation to make it a regular forum for literary discussions. I hope I'll have enough time and capability to carry it out well.
It was a dream spell of 11 days and I enjoyed every bit of it and every bit in a different role - poet , listener, critique, bird-watcher, dancer, lecturer, photographer, traveler... and sometimes, I was mistaken for what I was not. A girl thought I was from press (because of my camera), a man on station though I was in army (because of my jacket), and many people thought I am a PITA (pain in the ass) coz for two days, I kept reminding everyone to join my workshop (and which none of them did).