Friday, October 15, 2010

Up to the Hills - Book Festival cont'd.

The Wednesday sessions were all held at the main school – morning in the Lower School Auditorium, afternoon in Parker Hall, and of course the poetry reading outside in the Tea Garden. On Thursday we all moved out to the Hanifl Centre, a wonderful facility that was built on the site of the old Ashton Court (Mennonite missionary residence). Hanifl is about a 15-minute walk east of the school right on Tehri Road. As the Festival presenters were staying in many locations on the hillside, car and bus transportation was provided for them.

The first presenter was Sudhir Thapliyal -- his new book Mansuri, Macabre was released at the Festival. It is a murder mystery based on an unsolved murder that took place here in Mussoorie. His plan was to create something like Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, but there were no witnesses and no killer to interview, so he wrote fiction, from which he read a few passages. According to him, someone unnamed may have made a hasty departure from the area just before publication. An interesting note – Sudhir participated in Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition From the Ocean to the Sky in 1977. I have that book at home and must now pull it out and read it again. And I will buy the new book as soon as it comes into the local bookstore.

Sheela Jaywant’s talk was titled “Yearning for the Outdoors – a City Dweller’s Plight.” Sheela works in an office in Mumbai but loves the outdoors. She made her presentation as an essay in verse – “I Sold My Soul to a Corporate Goal.” It was very enjoyable, and anyone who has worked in a corporate environment could readily relate. Her website with some of her writing is here.

Garry Weare -- “A Summer Ramble in the Himalayas” Garry has trekked more than 25,000 miles in his adventurous life. He has written multiple editions of the Lonely Plant guidebook, “Trekking in the Himalayas.” He also wrote Gaumukh to Kashmir: A long Walk in the Himalaya.

During the festival, the Cambridge Book Depot had a booth set up throughout. They sold many books. Someone got a photo of Dan and me shopping on Wednesday near the Quad. I was good – I planned to buy three books and only bought five! The second photo is when the booth was set up at the Hanifl Centre. There were people browsing (and buying) most of the time.

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