I remember reading Train To Pakistan in my youth. It was my first encounter with a narrative about the harrowing experience of the Partition. This might have been one reason for wanting to document KSLF through the medium of photography. Possibly another was my love for the hills of Himachal. I live in the plains now but I miss my childhood in Shimla. The hills are gradually eroding and the forests wilting under the heedless march of construction. Kasauli has fortunately preserved its blissful contact with nature. I began photographing KSLF in 2015 and felt happy with the easy going and carefree atmosphere at the Kasauli Club. The spontaneous energy of KSLF is a reflection of the energy and passion of the organizers, audience and residents of Kasauli. There are many remembrances of the days passed here of people, book readings, laughter, conversations and the splendid hospitality of the homes hosting the meals during the festival. Far too many to be narrated at one go. One that I remember often is a vodka session with Om Puri and Kishie where Om dispensed with the peg measure and suggested the Patiala measure: the thumb resting at the base of the glass and the index finger resting dangerously close to the half way mark of a tall glass. á votre santé and bon appétit.
It all began with me meeting with granduncle K in 1988 at Balwant Gargi’ s home in Connaught Place. The conversation there veered and bordered on many topics including Dali, Picasso and Pirandello.
It was the beginning of a lovely association.
I shifted to the mountains after getting married to Iknam in 1992 and then met Uncle K with the family. My own relationship started after I started teaching at The Lawrence School Sanawar.
It is then that I got to know Rahul and then eventually you. It’s just been magnificent ever since.
What was my reason to volunteer? I don’t have any.
I just knew I had to do it and perhaps a little of my grief that set in after granduncle K passed would abate. There’s no qualitative or quantitative reason or explanation except that I cannot ever imagine not being a part of it.
Granduncle K was just that…grand.
The memories I have of him, the special place reserved for me at his feet, being allowed use of the only ashtray and sitting with him while he ate, not to mention the directives given to me for people to leave at the appointed hour, they are all memorable.Raj Vilas to me since childhood has been like a reader’s Xanadu for me and it continues to be where every brick tells a tale.
So really thank you, may we always do this.
KSLF is the most unique and unusual ‘Happening’.
Named after a man, a litterateur, a historian a humourist, a hard hitting writer, a soft loving humanist!
Kasauli! Situated at 1,900 meters above sea level. There is no other LitFest in the world with such a romantic and historic setting and a tranquil and a salubrious climate.
KSLF is in the lap of Nature and the magnificent Himalaya. The majestic whistling pines provide the music.
All this acts as a magnet. To bring together like minded people! To meet people you may never get to meet otherwise.
You rub shoulders with the literati, the glitterati, the flotsam and jetsam, the hoi-polloi, the hoity -toyty!
It’s a world the average person never sees.You hear things you want to hear, you hear things that you don’t want to hear! KSLF celebrates the greatest gift to man and democracy. Freedom of speech and an exchange of ideas and thoughts! Knowingly for us, but unknowingly for others we are in the shadow of Greatness! We learn that books, the written words, are a uniquely portable magic! We learn that to read a book is the ultimate to gain knowledge. We also learn that people and time will teach you more than books.
To pay back to India & give it a free voice; a voice that highlights liberation, gender and cultural equality, differing opinions, freethinking and care of community & nature. Surely, it’s how every society should wish to be 🙏 One that thinks of and honours the past but moves forward with an open, light hearted & contemporary mind. A space to listen, discuss, think & decide for yourself #kslf
To me, KSLF is always knowing and touching people lives that bring so much enlightenment.. Every topic / discussion during the fest goes to a different level of depth.. It’s like looking & knowing from the eyes of people who went through so much.. their lives .. their stories.. experiences… We are always blind folded by the knowledge we posses or by the experiences we have shared.. that limit us.. Kslf brings people together where we are able explore the vistas… It opens our mind .. and yes that can be another version too.. It pushes our brain to open up.. It is just somehow a feeling of awe…sometimes can’t be explained…