Jai Ho JAIPUR!
|Mahi and I at JECRC|
Delhi ... Mumbai ... Chandigarh ... Amritsar ... Bangalore ... London ... Dallas ... Paris ... Las Vegas ... These are some of the cities which I have visited in the past few years, and there are many more beautiful cities, around the globe, which I would love to visit in the future.
One such city, which I always wanted to visit, was Jaipur - the PINK CITY of India. The opportunity fell into my lap on 21st March 2013, when I received a call from Prerna Jain, student coordinator at the Renaissance fest at Jaipur Engineering College and Research Centre (JECRC). She requested me to come over as a guest speaker for an event on March 24th, to motivate the students and also invited me to talk about my debut novel ‘Te Amo... I LOVE YOU’. She informed me that they have also invited my friend and fellow author, Mahi Singla, for the same purpose. Both Mahi and I gladly accepted their kind invitation, and eagerly waited to interact with the youth audience of one of the best colleges in Rajasthan.
We had a small duration of two days to do the entire preparation for the event – the speeches, the presentations, the videos etc. Thankfully, Sunill Kaushik from Ink Studios, shared our burden, and prepared one such video for our upcoming short story anthology '12 HOURS'. He did a commendable job, in such a short time-frame. Meanwhile, Mahi and I worked on our motivational speeches, and prepared a video presentation as well.
Finally, with all the preparation done, we reached Jaipur on 24th March. The college authorities were kind and supportive enough to provide us with the travel and stay facilities. After a bit of rest and tasty food, in college’s guest room, we reached JECRC at 12:30 p.m. Our event was scheduled at 1 p.m.
I was highly impressed by the care and concern which the college authorities showed toward us. We received a very warm welcome, both from the students and the teachers, right at the entrance gate of the college. We roam around the college a bit, and saw various other events that were going on. The fest, Renaissance, was in its full throttle. It was a festive atmosphere, and it reminded me of my own college days. Yes, I still miss the days when I used to dance on the stage.
Our event started right on time. All the preparations were immaculate. When Mahi and I entered the auditorium, it was already bustling with audience. They welcomed us with a loud cheer and applause. It was good to see that there was an audience, who was ready to attend an event related to authors and books, when events like dance/singing were going on in parallel. It certainly gave me the much needed confidence boost. I must admit, no matter how many colleges I have visited in the past, there is always a sense of anxiety just before an event.
Finally, the event started with my speech. I gave a 12-15 minute long speech, and stressed upon the elements like success, failure, dreams, and of course, I spoke about ‘Te Amo... I LOVE YOU’, and a bit about '12 HOURS', too. I narrated my journey of becoming a writer, from an engineer, and tried to motivate the upcoming engineers of JECRC. I am not sure how motivated the students felt after my speech. The video presentation that depicted the journey of my debut book was received with overwhelming response. The trailer of ‘Te Amo... I LOVE YOU’, titled Celebration of Love, was then played, and the audience was transfixed to the screen. The trailer was welcomed with much bigger response. Somehow, the video presentations always work better than the boring speeches.
But, Mahi proved it wrong. She received audience applause three times, during her 10 minute speech. It was her first speech, and she hit the bull’s eye. She spoke about how she became a writer accidentally ... her meeting with the bestselling author Subhasis Das, who offered her to co-author him in his book – ‘I.T. Hurts’. She also spoke about her love for reading and writing, especially writing short stories. She narrated her journey of scripting '12 HOURS', and how she and I ended up co-authoring it. Her one-liners in Hindi were hugely applauded by the audience. The trailer of '12 HOURS', which Sunill Kaushik had prepared for us, was then played after Mahi’s speech. The trailer was received with the big thumbs up by the audience.
The next was the audience interaction round. I must appreciate JECRC audience for being so interactive. I loved their questions, and replied to them with all the honesty. Mahi and I had deliberately thought of making the event more interactive. Hence, we invited students to showcase their talents, like - singing, poetry, dance etc.
JECRC audience crossed our expectations. They participated in a big number, and we gifted them the signed copies of ‘Te Amo... I LOVE YOU’. It was followed by the formal book signing event, and the photography session. JECRC also presented us with the beautiful trophies, and the event came to a successful closure.
On the whole, the event was perfectly managed by Prerna, Nishtha, Rishi, and their entire team. Thumbs up to them! I am very thankful to them, and the entire team of JECRC, for inviting us to their college, and giving us an opportunity to share our thoughts and work. I am also thankful to them for the warmth, love and care they showered on us.
Sadly, I could not see the real Jaipur city. It was a Sunday, and everything was closed. Maybe next time! But Prerna, along with Parul, took Mahi and me to a mall, where we enjoyed shopping and food. Let me correct ... the girls did the shopping ... I enjoyed the food!
The day ended on a great note, when I saw my book at ‘Maheshwari Book Stall’ at Sindi Camp Bus stand.
Overall, it was a memorable day in Jaipur! JAI HO JAIPUR!