A fantastic opening night heralded the inaugural Jaipur Literature Festival as a pop-up innovation of the Melbourne Writers Festival. Mesmerising poetry read by Sampurna Chattaryi and provocative rapping from Sofia Ashraf was preceded by a collaboration of Indigenous and Indian elders singing and chanting, accompanied by dancers in their sinuous glory.
Sanjeer Sanyal spoke of the process of urbanisation in India, dispelling the myth of despondency and despair, a commonly held perspective of slums held by westerners.
Readings and performances took place in the Atrium space, featuring writers and artists from east and west, including Omar Musa.
At the nearby Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) was a free exhibition The Bombay Talkies Ltd, documenting the cultural contribution of Indian film. I found Shiraz captivating: this silent black and white film from 1928 tells the story of the building of the Taj Mahal.
Sadly, I had been looking forward to walking my own narrative adventure, yet this feature was unavailable today. Instead, I spent some times walking and listening to locals recall memories of landmarks and places in Melbourne’s CBD.