Day three of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2022 began with a soulful performance by Rukmini Vijayakumar with calming early morning ragas and a combination of music and meditation.
The panel discussion was graced by child psychiatrist Shekhar Seshadri; educationist and founder of Aditya Birla Education Trust, Neerja Birla; columnist and author of Working Out of the Box: 40 Stories of Leading CEOs, Aparna Piramal Raje, in conversation with therapist, writer and the co-founder of Children First Institute of Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Shelja Sen. “No matter how much one achieves, one always feels they can do much more. Inside you feel like a failure. There are some benchmarks we set for ourselves that are very hard to fulfil. This type of identity crisis was a big trigger for me in my bipolarity,” Raje said.
During the conversation, hosted at the virtual Front Lawn, to examine the constantly evolving and overlapping nature of the pandemic with our mental health, Seshadri said, “After the pandemic, students are coming back from a lot of circumstances and they should be allowed to tell stories of strength, resilience, and hope – this would help create a personal identity and a collective identity that then helps them negotiate the exit from the pandemic.”
At the Bank of Baroda Mughal Tent, author, historian and mythographer Marina Warner discussed her latest book Inventory of a Life Mislaid: An Unreliable Memoir along with historian, biographer and publisher Jenny Uglow. While talking about her latest book, she resurrected the fraught union and unrequited hopes of her parents. The memoir follows Warner’s mother Ilia’s voyage from southern Italy to London. With her husband away at war in the East, she begins to learn how to be an Englishwoman. Warner also highlights the account of the past, born from memory and imagination.
At another inspiring session, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman joined professor Olivier Sibony and legal scholar Cass R. Sunstein in a discussion with Indian columnist Mihir S. Sharma, explaining how and why humans are so susceptible to noise in judgement and what we can do about it. Wherever there is judgement, there is noise. Yet, most of the time, individuals and organisations are overtly unaware of it and neglect noise. But with a few simple remedies, people can reduce both noise and bias to make far better decisions.
At another session, British philologist Irving Finkel, discussed his new book The First Ghosts: Most Ancient of Legacies with historian and archaeologist Nayanjot Lahiri. In the book Finkel, embarks upon an ancient ghost hunt that makes an attempt to unlock the secrets of the Sumerians, Babylonians and the Assyrians to find out about the first ghost stories. “This book is perhaps the most unusual and fascinating book to get featured in this year’s edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival,” said Lahiri.
Bestselling author David Mitchell talked about his new release, Utopia Avenue, with author Samit Basu where they discussed the celebration and power of music. The book is a definitive rock and roll novel and a love letter to the greats. Utopia Avenue follows the titular emerging band through the Summer of Love and a much darker end to the Sixties – the collision of youthful idealism and jaded reality.
At another session, businesswoman and former CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi, was in conversation with columnist and author Aparna Piramal Raje, to discuss her latest memoir My Life in Full: Work, Family and Our Future. The book follows her journey of grit and determination as she broke through several glass ceilings and the barriers of gender and race to become a global business leader. Talking about the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival Nooyi said, “I have heard so many good things about Jaipur Literature Festival…I wish I could have been there in person…I’ve heard fabulous things about it.” Later, Raje and Nooyi also talked about the issues of mental health at workplaces which leads to moments of vulnerability.
At another session focused on the fracture of the subcontinent, Pakistani broadcast journalist and filmmaker Munizae Jahangir, Bangladeshi writer and journalist Aasha Mehreen Amin, and Indian journalist Radhika Ramaeshan were in conversation with journalist and Consulting Editor, The Print, Jyoti Malhotra, discussing the crises that still affect the lives of the people of their countries.
Concluding the day, authors Kulpreet Yadav, Shiv Aroor, Kota Neelima and Namita Waikar came together to explore the multi-layered paradoxes and challenges faced by soldiers and farmers even as they form the backbone of this country.