Shashi Tharoor at Delhi World Book Fair

The fan in Jaya spring out at with Shashi Tharoor visiting DWBF. Here is a synopsis of the event.

I have been a fan of Shashi Tharoor’s on-stage charisma since the first time I heard him in-person at PAN IIT conference in December 2006 and he explained (using his wonderful oratory skills) how if US was a melting pot, India was a thali!! Since then I have read the transcripts of his speeches, and followed him on twitter, but never had an opportunity to hear him on stage.

Even after spending most of my time at Delhi World Book Fair lazily sitting at our stall (the books these days are all available online to buy!!), when I jumped at the news that Dr. Tharoor was coming and promptly made my way to Flipkart’s stall in hall 6, Abhaya was not surprised. He is aware of my fascination.

ST arrived dot on time and I could not help notice that he smiled in a way as if he wasn’t used to all the attention he was getting. Given how Indian politicians have to maintain a God-like persona during their campaigns and afterwards, it is difficult to believe. But charming nonetheless. 🙂

Since I don’t know when I would hear him on stage again, this time I decided to record it. Quality is, of course, constrained by the fact that I was using my regular camera to record it. 😀 Unfortunately the recording has become too long and I am unable to upload it on Youtube. So, let me try to summarize some of my take-aways.

The one question I asked him was whether he was planning to write any fiction in near future. He said that fiction is his first love and he would like to return to it. But finding time for writing with the busy schedule of a political career is difficult. And writing fiction requires not only time, but also a space in your head. You create an alternate world. If you are interrupted and are away from that world for weeks, it becomes difficult to continue writing.

Anyone who has tried to write long fiction will identify with the problem. And Abhaya should be more tolerant of my being completely absorbed in that alternate world of mine when I am writing my next book. 😀

However, ST added that he has a few stories in his mind and once his current non-fiction project is over, he will try to write a short novel. I really want to read a more recent fiction from him as I felt that I had tried to read ‘The Great Indian Novel’ 20 years too late. Today I got a copy of “Show Business” (signed, of course!) and am looking forward to reading it.

He read a chapter/scene each from his books “Bookless in Baghdad” and “Riot”. He had cleverly chosen a chapter from “Riot”, where he makes fun of his own “The Great Indian Novel”. Self-deprecating humour is not something you can expect to see in most Indian politicians! Plus he also had very progressive answers to questions related to online buying and experience of reading e-books. Specifically on reading e-books/online he said that more than a substitute of physical book reading, it is an alternative and can enhance the reading experience. For example, through hyperlinks you can instantly look up the meaning of a word or figure out where this character last came in a story.Though they won’t mean much to people who don’t look up the dictionary or who are happy to flip through the pages to find where a particular character had come last, he said referring to people like himself.

We (at agree to the basic idea that neither print books are going to go away (because they have a charm); nor e-books are going to be stopped from becoming mainstream (because they have a value). Right, right! Making a case for our Print on Demand as well as e-book businesses! 😀

To conclude, I return as a happy creature from DWBF because of this opportunity to hearing ST, even though it has been tiring otherwise.

Other Links related to DWBF

  1. Breakinge-publishing myths – Jaya‘s talk at the e-publishing seminar
  2. Photographs and other updates on our Facebook page

4 thoughts on “Shashi Tharoor at Delhi World Book Fair”

  1. Dr.Shashi Tharoor launches Aniruddha Bose’s Book THE VISION on 26th February 2012 at Rabindra Sadan Kolkata

    There are some fundamental questions in our lives, which either rises in the strata of our emotions or sleeps in the frozen darkness of our deepest emotions. Sometimes it raises a tsunami in our stanch monotonous life shaking up our very existence. Who or what is “I”, “Dad” or filial affection? What is the real colour of affection for our children? Who is a Mom? Can motherhood be attained? Or is it just an animalistic biological event. What is life? Moreover, what will I do with my life? …. Many a times these basic questions overwhelm our cognition. We apparently live our lives more or less happily with not much cataclysm. These philosophical questions hardly play any significant role in many of our lives. Nevertheless, a few can sometimes hear the call of the wilderness. If one does hear such a call, to him the daily chores of life become meaningless. His endeavour then solely focuses in seeking an answer to these questions. These blessed few actually prepare the base for a new beginning where the progeny can cultivate a better harvest.

    A lyrical novel of Aniruddha Bose’s ‘Dekha’ (in Bengali) rendered in English as THE VISION explores the answers to these questions through an array of characters. Here the author takes the reader on a guided tour of India showing its rich culture and traditions behind the apparent poverty. He brings forth the cry of human soul that lurks behind the glittering façade of wealth and luxury of the West. Then through the eyes of the main character, Srabasti, the intellectual reader understands the real philosophy. Looking at this philosophy is THE VISION

  2. I wish people like Mr Tharoor Reads books like Oxhole Economists from Assford, Knowledge, Go get it and air their views so that at least some section of the society following him will be well informed about the tragedy of economics and commedy of Education system in our country,

  3. I wish people like Mr Tharoor Reads books like Oxhole Economists from Assford, Knowledge, Go get it and air their views so that at least some section of the society following him will be well informed about the tragedy of economics and commedy of Education system in our country,

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