By: Vivek Mohan
In Patlikuhl (a junction on the Kullu-Manali and Naggar roads), I observed auto-rickshaws painted ‘sight seen’. One doesn’t need Lord Jamlu of Malana to tell whether it was the previous trip or trips with tourists they’re talking about or they want to convey ‘sight-seeing’ to attract visitors. Then again, during my long, lonely walk-the-talk (with myself) near St. Bede’s College area, I discovered a tourist hut saying ‘Tainted Accommodation’! No wonder the kind of ‘outstation’ murders taking place in Shimla, these cottages are indeed ‘tainted’, if not ‘tented’, or otherwise!
Now coming to the sign almost all right-thinking old and new Shimlaites are upset with – Shimla INTERNATIONAL Summer Festival. I’m sure reactionary posts by our esteemed readers on this piece will not be all that pleasing so I will not elaborate on ‘Houton, we’ve a problem’ (an oft repeated Hollywood dialogue). All I remember right now is a solution (with like-minded readers’ contribution and consensus) and a dialogue from an actually world-famous comedian Mel Brooks’s film ‘To Be Or Not To Be’. The opening scene set in Poland of Nazi Germany begins like this …’I’m world famous in Poland…’
Yes, our so-called ‘International’ fests are world famous on the Mall Road, local press and amongst babus! Alas, most of our press is to blame for it and aids this AIDS! Another favourite and obsession of our state media is misuse of the word ‘Historic Ridge’…don’t expect any homework and research from the ‘overburdened’ and torn-between Cong vs. BJP reporters. Our ‘Granpa’s and Dogs’ were not allowed on that very ‘Historic Ridge’!
After the 2007 Summer Festival, where I successfully conducted a Him Film Fest in Ritz Cinema (After Nov. 2005 one with the Deptt. of Lang. Art & Cul in Indira Gandhi Khel Parisar), thanks to the then visionary DC Tarun Kapoor… I bounced off an idea with close confidants about a parallel fest with activities pertaining to individual talents in addition to “SISF” and coined an acronym ” P E N C I L S ” (Poets, Painters, Editors, Novelists, Creatives, Intellectuals, Linguists of Shimla). Reading sessions…art sessions…film shows…etc.,etc.
My only fear and observation is petty politics that takes over here for one-upmanship, losing the focus and purpose. I ask you to join this movement and come out with dedication and commitment to make it a brand name in few years’ time with initial and obvious teething problems! Our baby will sure turn out to be a fine Lady and dignified Gentleman with class.