By Dr Tania Saili Bakshi
Photo: Sneha Bharadwaj
Dehradun, 1 May: Keeping its date with the written word, VoW Cafe – Gallery – Studio hosted yet another stalwart, Raj Kanwar, whose observations on Dehradun have made him the resident chronicler of the city. In the earlier editions, VoW Café has hosted historian Pradeep Singh, balladeer and cultural scholar Anjali Nauriyal and the nationally renowned Hindi poet, Leeladhar Jagudi.
This monthly interactive session put together by The VoW Cafe – Gallery – Studio along with Garhwal Post was dedicated to Kanwar’s recent book, ‘Dateline Dehradun’. The book can be seen as a complete kaleidoscope which misses out on nothing: One gets to read about the town’s history; its world-famous institutions or its numberless leading citizens, a fact-o-file where the author answers all your questions.
The author brings his audience ever so gently to the present from the town’s glorious past, where everything is changing but in the heart of hearts – the essence of the place – remains the same. The octogenarian Raj Kanwar made an instant connect with his audience as he shared his encyclopaedic knowledge about his hometown as he brought alive iconic institutions such as Forest Research Institute , Indian Military Academy, Survey of India, RIMC, Dehradun Railway Station interlaced with humor, anecdotes, datelines. The storyteller patiently answered the questions put to him by the audience.
Festival Director Dr Sanjeev Chopra added, “Kanwar Saheb is a great raconteur whose writings are equally engaging. Dateline Dehradun is like a gazetteer of yore… it is empirical, eminently readable, and gives more than adequate material for a great conversation in the evenings.”
‘Authors from the Valley’ is a monthly event held every first Sunday of the month. Curated for the literary circuit of Dehradun, this monthly affair brings like-minded people under one roof at the Vow Café which makes for a cozy setting amongst books, coffee and cookies.
A list of luminaries present at the occasion included Amber Kanwar, Dr S Farooq, N Ravishankar, Sandeep Dutt, Mrs and Mr Sanjay Abhigyan, Sanjay Minocha, Brig Behl, Rakesh Oberoi, Bikram Singh, Rashmi and Sanjeev Chopra, Sneha Bharadwaj, Kamal Prasad, SS Khaira, SS Rasaily, Paramjit Singh Kakkar, Ravi Kumar Matha, Deepankar Aron, Sandeep Dutt, Mrs and Mr Manoj Barthwal, students of the DAV Mantrana Team among others.