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Mary Kom's absence, rain disappoint many at lit fest

Posted on Jan 21 2014 | IANS

By Shilpa Raina, Jaipur, Jan 21 : Bookworms in the Pink City Tuesday woke up to a rainy morning, but it didn't dampen their spirits as they headed for the on-going Jaipur Literature Festival.

The organisers had swiftly swung into action and shifted open-air venues to closed rooms, much before people started trooping in to avoid any inconvenience to them.

But, many were disappointed with the absence of Olympic bronze medallist and boxer MC Mary Kom from her session.

Though the venue, Diggi Palace, wore a deserted and wrecked look, people were slowly and steadily moving in to enjoy the last day of the festival.

"Organisers were expecting rain, so the entire team of volunteers and other members of the festival were working since early morning to ensure everything was sorted before the first session that began at 10.00 a.m.," a member from the organising team told IANS.

The festival co-director William Dalrymple tweeted: "Amazingly the crowds are still with us despite the pouring rain. Love seeing everyone happily huddled together in dining rm (room)."

Three venues - Charbagh, Samwaad and Front Lawns - have been moved to smaller locations, and volunteers are guiding the guests.

But, it wasn't the rain that disappointed many, it was the news of Mary Kom not attending her session "Pulling her Punches" that disappointed many.

The boxer was to launch her biography "Unbreakable" at the festival.

"I am disappointed that she is not coming. It would have been wonderful to listen to her incredible story," said Varun Shukla, a college student.

But for these disappointments and last-minute changes, Dalrymple is offering a consolation prize: 'chai'.

"Wartime spirit here @JaipurLitFest. With rain hitting our desert festival for the 1st time we're moving 2 venues inside and serving free chai," he tweeted.

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