Sabita Das is a upcoming poetess. Originally she belongs to West Bengal but settled in Chandigarh. She writes fiction, poems and articles in Bangla, English and Hindi. She is a regular contributor to leading journals and newspapers. email: <sabita_1108@yahoo.com>


 
 

A memorable Writers Festival at Trivandrum
- Sabita Das
 

It was early week of November 2014 that I came to know about the 10th International Writers Festival going to be held at Trivandrum (Kerala) on 27-28 December, 2014. From that day, I started my planning, firstly, I submitted seven days leave application to my boss but his reaction was not so appreciated but I managed to get leave sanctioned.

On 24th Dec. 2014, I took flight from Chandigarh to Bangalore and then traveled by road to Trivandrum. The Hotel Jass was already booked for the delegates coming from various parts of India and abroad. Mr. Dev Bhardwaj, Festival Director and his associates Madam Sandhya, Mr. Issac Jacob, and Dr. Parinita Goswami were busy in welcoming them at the reception.

This was my second participation in Kafla’s International Writers festival series as I had participated in the 1st. International Writers Festival in the city beautiful Chandigarh in 2004.

On 26th. Dec. morning, a fresh look and smile was on my face, neither any work load nor any tension, I came down at ground floor where Jass hotel’s restaurant is situated, every corner table was occupied by the prestigious writers. When I was finding a suitable table, suddenly a call from Mr. Sham Singh, “Sabita come here one chair is vacated,” I wished “Good Morning all of you Sir,” “they smiled and offered me to sit.” After taking breakfast we four people – me, Sham Singh and two from Bangladesh suddenly made a program to see Kanyakumari which by road is 93 Km far away from Trivandrum and took 2:15 hours. Kanyakumari; formerly known as Cape Comorin, is in the state of Tamil Nadu. The name comes from the temple, Devi Kanya Kumari Temple in the region.

We saw the Thiruvalluvar Statue, which has a height of 95 feet and stands upon a 38 foot pedestal that represents the 38 chapters of “virtue” in the Thirukkural. And about the Vivekananda Rock Memorial is awesome and most popular tourist monument in Kanyakumari. According to local legends, it was on this rock that Goddess Kumari performed austerity. The design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. It houses a statue of Vivekananda. The rocks are surrounded by the Laccadive Sea.

Geographical value of Kerala state is significant. It is divided into three regions: Highlands, which slope down from the Western Ghats onto the Midlands of undulating hills and valleys into an unbroken coastline with many picturesque backwaters, interconnected with canals and networked by rivers. Kerala enjoys diverse and unique geographical features i.e. an equable climate and a long shoreline with serene beaches, tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters and lush hill stations. Waterfalls, Wildlife, Sprawling plantations and Paddy fields etc. have made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in India.

Now, once again I am coming back on the topic for which we all gathered at Trivandrum from various states of India and abroad i.e. 10th celebration of International Writers’ Festival, held on 27-28 December, 2014. On the first day around 10:00 morning we all assembled in the main hall of Gandhi Smarak Bhawan, Trivandrum, and a wonderful arrangement was made by the organizers. The function started just in time; firstly, the chief guest lit the light (Diva prajwalan). Organizers - Mr. Dev Bhardwaj, Dr. Parinita Goswami, Mrs. Sandhya and Mr. Jacob (South Africa) were honoring to the esteemed guests of this convention by presenting bouquet, shawl etc. After guest’s speeches, the function started with grace, some scholars submitted their papers, some poets recited their poems. Around 11:30AM we enjoyed the tea session and one hour lunch break was at 1:30 to 2:30 PM. We all relished Kerala’s delicacies like boiled rice with Sambhar, Rasam, Prippu, Pappadam, Theeyal (Mix Vegetable cooked with crushed tender coconut) and Herbal drinking water (Mild red colour) and were also served paayasam as desert.

2nd half session of the first day was started at sharp 3:00 PM. again with the paper-readings. Kav-Sandhya (Poetry in singing) was the highlight of that evening, when poetry came alive in music and singing. At dinner; again we met each other and reciprocated our thoughts.

One thing I must share with you about my room partner Ms. Jeenat, a beautiful lady professionally expert in stage hosting. She is a Bangladeshi citizen and working in Cyprus Embassy at Dhaka. I met various people over there and each person is special for me. I was impressed and over whelmed after seeing their cooperative nature, understanding, soft spoken, well behaved etc. In true sense “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” means whole universe is one family” was there. And it is my firm belief that our international guests must say, “we have brought a commendable memory from India, the real harmony, integration, hospitality is in their nature and where the shine of the sun is like the smiles on every face”.

On the second day, I got a chance to recite my poem “Goonj Beti Ki” and also sang a Ghazal “Ranjish hi Sahi Dil Hi Dukhane Ke Liye Aa” accompanied with Dev Bhardwaj ji, and the listeners appreciated us. After Lunch, Award distribution ceremony was started and I was also honoured by the Sahitya Shree award.

We also went for shopping at famous Kalyan Silk Emporium; I purchased few silk Saris and Kasavu Salwar suit, and also bought Pattu Pavadas a traditional dress of Kerala for my grand-daughter.

We are quite familiar about the story of Kerala’s spices from thousands years into the past. And I am too greedy of those fabulous spices; hence, I brought some good quality organic spices like Black pepper, Clove, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Mace and Star Anise form the local market.

At night of 29th Dec, 2014 around I started my journey back to Chandigarh with lots of unforgettable memories of this wonderful Writers Meet at Trivandrum.

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© Author
(Published in Kafla Intercontinental - Summer 2015)