I was at a lit fest recently. My love for all things literary apart, I believed that attending it would help me come in touch with other like-minded souls like me, with bloggers, book-lovers, writers with whom I could establish long term meaningful relationships that would create many hours of fruitful, joyous discussions on a subject that I find so fulfilling and gratifying. I also wanted to reach out to many to share my knowledge so that others could benefit. Every journey is after all made more beautiful when you find others walking with you, enjoying your view or when you show the way for others.
So imagine my surprise, my disappointment and perplexity when I saw people of my own ilk acting vain and turning away from interacting, people from literary circles being pompous and behaving like they were a breed apart and that they were far too superior to be interacting with people and peers from their own field. Made me wonder if being accomplished in a field means turning up your nose and looking down at others who look up to you for assistance, guidance or progress or trying hard to project a cool, neo look by presenting a complicated version of your writing or work!
On day 1 I was trying to find a seat before the start of a discussion. When I found a couple of seats, I asked two young girls, barely out of their teens who had their laptops open if the seats next to them were taken and without even looking up one of the girls chewing gum muttered, ‘nope these seats are reserved for bloggers.’ I am a blogger too but hey, I don’t walk around with name tag announcing that fact. Neither do I want to sit with bloggers alone just because I am one! Surprised I walked away. But I walked around trying to interact but everybody seemed to be rushing off somewhere. The youngsters hoping to click pictures with celebrities in order to post on their social media pages were running behind most of the authors and media people. Where is the learning here? Does a signed book or picture with celebrity ensure improvement in one’s knowledge? What do we really take back from such events? If the idea is just to be seen with the who’s who of the literary world then lets call it a jamboree! I must say we have successfully taken few steps back in our learning.
I am a blogger, writer/author with published work, a teacher of English language and a person with unquenchable thirst for English, love for its heritage, evolution and progression. I also believe I have lots to contribute to this field, in terms of adding value. But what value can you add to a world that believes it knows it all? I noticed in this event, birds of the same feathers were flocking together forgetting the fact that they were all birds in the first place. Within the community they were divided! Bloggers sat with bloggers, writers with writers, and media with media. We were all there, not as a whole but in parts, divided. The common fabric called love for literary work was missing although we claimed we were there for that because it’s fashionable to say so! Two days of trying to interact with others and I came back feeling, everybody wants to grow but no one wants to share or learn! I am better off on my own! Whether its finding/gaining knowledge or imparting it to others, it’s not going to happen in such events. I came back feeling; yes I am wiser, although none the wiser in true sense of the word!