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Wow VoW!

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As Literary Festivals go, Doon’s Valley of Words has made a mark in a competitive environment with its excellent management. Everything goes like clockwork – even if volunteers holding up placards indicating the amount of time left in every session could throw speakers off their stride. But the esoteric cannot exist without the mundane! It has the right mix of everything – the festive atmosphere keeps the energy level high, even as literary discussions ranging from children’s fare to heavy international strategy are held at different venues – each with its particular ambience in the traditionally welcoming Hotel Madhuban. One may go out of simple curiosity or serious intent, there is a little in it for everybody. Even a casual observer, flitting from one discussion to another without commitment, returns unconsciously energised. How that is can be discovered by making a visit. And, of course, those really into literature and its many dimensions in human existence, can explore the depths with the help of authors and experts. The written word printed on paper, despite the pessimists, is not exactly on the verge of extinction. Technology and ingenuity will overcome the difficulties presently being faced, ensuring thereby availability of the inimitable pleasure of curling up in bed, or enjoying the winter sun, with a favourite book. People are also concerned about the takeover of human attention by the smartphone and the internet. The truth is that even young people who would otherwise not read books are being turned into potential readers by this medium. Just as trailers and critics draw us to see movies, the written word on blogs and Facebook posts can awaken appreciation of the art of writing. Much depends, however, on the writers. It is at VoW like events that authors, critics and readers can churn out the rules and methods that go into writing material that grips one from the opening sentence and takes one, lickety-split, on to the last page, with time having passed unbeknownst. In that sense, despite it being a ‘festival’, it is an event for the hardcore professional. Writers can understand how information and the means of presentation help to communicate. As such, VoW could also focus in the future on brief writing workshops for school children that would reveal the mystery of communicating, and capturing the reader’s imagination. It is certainly a bit of an ego trip for the writers to receive their readers’ appreciation, even adulation, but it is also serious business – in many ways than one!