Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mountain echoes

Talk about journalistic privilege. Ambassador and writer Pavan Varma's beautiful, willowy daughter Batasha looks at me sympathetically when I whisper to her: "I really have to file." So, notwithstanding her seven-inch heels, she gamely takes me up through the kitchen and service area to her father's fabulous wood-panelled study, sits me down on his computer and five minutes later I am in business. Batasha, incidentally, is a journalist, so the empathy is easy to understand.

Earlier this evening, the Queen Mother, Arshi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, the 'chief royal patron' of Bhutan's first-ever literature festival delivers the keynote address at the India House Auditorium. With the clear voice of a very young girl, she talks of Bhutan's rich tradition of oral literature and how the arts play a crucial role in the understanding of culture.

There's only a hint of disapproval when she mentions that Bhutanese youth are somewhat more inclined towards 'television and other distractions' and hopes that the litfest will 'inspire creative writing in our youth'.

Full report here Hindustan Times

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