By Shilpa Raina, Jaipur, Jan 18 IANS | 6 months ago

It took just a tweet to change the course of dinner conversation at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF). The news of the death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, spread like wild fire.


Guests, authors and visiting journalists were shocked by the late night developments of Friday, when Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel in New Delhi.

The news came just a day after the couple had claimed they were "happily married" despite an ugly public row.

In the wake of the personal troubles and personal loss, organisers confirmed that the minister would skip the festival this year. He was scheduled to launch a few books.

There were a few who chose not to concentrate on the gossip and enjoyed their drinks.

"It is a private matter. What has happened is unfortunate but this is not the place to talk about it. Let's talk about books," one guest was heard saying.

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JLF - cab driver's nightmare

While visiting authors, speakers, delegates, organisers and media people had a gala time at the JLF, cab drivers were having a harrowing time plying them from the hotel to the venue.

Organisers this time have not provided cab drivers any lodging, so they are sleeping in their cabs instead.

"Last year, we had a place to sleep, but last night we slept in the cab. There is no arrangement for us to even have a glass of water," said one of the drivers who had come from Delhi with journalists.

"There is no system in place, we are crazily getting calls from organisers, sponsors and journalists to take them from hotel to the venue. We have been running like this since evening," he said.

The "aam aadmi" of India continues to suffer even as Nobel laureate and economist Amartya Sen said Friday morning that he was nervous and apprehensive about attempting an opening address before such an "elite gathering".

Elite, indeed!

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Love thyself

Be it selfies or getting clicked in front of a JLF hoarding, or a quick picture with an author, the idea is to make a statement about being the "intellectual", by quickly posting the photograph on social networking sites.

Even as crazy back-to-back sessions were held at the festival, many were seen posing, asking strangers to click their pictures, or unabashedly clicked a selfie.

"I'm here the first time and I want to make my friends jealous," Pritha Rao, a student from Pune, told IANS.

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Don't break the loo queue!

A foreigner was extremely offended when a middle-aged Indian woman broke the loo queue and rushed to the toilet, jumping the queue just as his turn came. Baffled and angry, the moment she emerged, he said to her bluntly: "Why did you break the queue? Didn't you see me standing here? I have been waiting for my turn."

He might have expected an answer but the woman conveniently walked away without paying heed.

"Chalta hai", he learned, even more baffled.

(Posted on 18-01-2014)