What’s your ‘visitor type’ at Jaipur lit fest

By Mohita Nagpal, IANS
Monday, January 24, 2011

JAIPUR - The following is a result of some effortless eavesdropping. Here are the nine most common type of visitors you are likely to encounter at the five-day Jaipur Literature Festival:

The struggling writer: I would like to introduce myself as a budding writer, he says earnestly before putting forth a clichd question to the bemused author at a literary session. He moves with nervous energy from one hall to another, halting at the sight of any known writer, tries to strike a conversation, fails and then moves again. Ninety percent chances of sporting a stubble.

The unknown socialite: She’s lost amongst the sea of authors, walks with an air of forced superiority and heads towards the restroom every 20 minutes to check if she looks the same. Eighty percent chances having a fake accent.

The drunkard: Hes glugging wine at the Diggy Palace. He walks up to you holding a cheap plastic glass, downs his procured-by-illegal-means wine and asks if you can get him his next free drink using your media pass.

The love-birds: They are on an intelligent date. Five Point Someone is the literary high-point of the guys life, and the guy in turn is the literary high-point of the girls life. Hell try to impress his girlfriend by pointing at Kiran Desai and declaring she won the Nobel Prize (she won the Booker actually, but her partner Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel). The girl will swell with pride and they will live happily ever after. Chances of being locals - 99.99 percent.

The directionally challenged: Marked by deep furrows on his forehead as he runs from pillar to post to figure out where the mens loo is. If he doesnt have to attend natures call, then hes looking for Durbar Hall at the Diggy Palace to attend a session.

The lonely souls: They dont know why they are here in the first place. They are the excess baggage of their ‘better’ halves who mingle comfortably with the crowd. They reluctantly sit at a table, their eyes constantly scanning the room till they meet a kindred soul. Knowing smiles are exchanged, before the discomfort takes over again.

The autograph seekers: They are the proud fans with the restless energy to accumulate as many autographs as possible. It works like a drug, the more, the merrier. Once a session ends, they mob the author even as the visibly upset organiser makes repeated announcements for the next session.

The voracious reader: She can give you a brief profile of every possible author present at the festival. She will jump at the sight of every book stall and fill her already overloaded bag with new buys. She will enthusiastically nod at every statement being made at the session and will also be the first one to raise her hand to ask a question but somehow never gets the opportunity to speak.

The trophy wives: They can be overheard discussing the pallu designs and their husbands bad tempers. They are depressed over the level of competition in schools these days and look back with nostalgia at the time when Maa baap to 60 percent mein bhi khush ho jaate the. All this happens while Orhan Pamuk walks past them.

PS: Journalists have been deliberately screened out.

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