I'd pretty much been zipping around like the Energizer Bunny since hearing from my good friend, Maliha Zia Lari, that the Karachi Literature Festival was around the corner. For those of you who don't know yet (which means you haven't read all my blogposts... FOR SHAME!!!) my big project these days is revamping the Desi Writers Lounge magazine, Papercuts, for public consumption (vs. its previous status, where even the editors would forget to check how it turned out). The Karachi LitFest promised to be a veritable dream-come-true for networking and promotion (not to mention the chance to rub shoulders with celeb writers, hence the title of this post).
And so I went about preparing for the event, mainly by getting visiting cards and flyers printed. At this point I'd like to acknowledge my uber resourceful brother-in-law, Ali Imran, who runs an event management company and specialises in getting things done at the last minute (even if they could've easily been done earlier, but let's not go there for now). Master Imran got my cards printed and delivered to Karachi in 24 hours, quite an amazing feat by any stretch of the imagination. Ali, it would simply not have been possible for me to harass so many unsuspecting attendees at the festival without those cards. I thank ye, brother in arms (and law).
The afternoon before the event was supposed to begin, I received a call from Azfar. "Listen," he said casually, "I have an invite to the festival launch at the British Deputy High Commissioner's residence. You wanna go?"
Annoyed at the cosmic injustice of my book-averse husband getting Literary Me access to any part of the festival, I asked him why he of all people had received an invitation; to which he replied, "Oh, Tariq couldn't go and he saw me in the corridor, so he gave me the card."
The scales of karma restored, I grudgingly agreed to attend the ceremony. In retrospect, this was probably not a very clever idea because I'm nothing more than a germ on the literary scene at present, which obviously has nothing to do with what one's doing and everything to do with how many people know what one's doing. Fortunately, after awkwardly easing myself into several random conversations in the first half hour, I bumped into British-American journalist and writer Jonathan Foreman, who'd just flown in after attending the Jaipur Literary Festival and also wasn't familiar with too many people on the Karachi circuit. We wound up sitting together and rescued the evening by talking right through the video presentation and speeches, pausing every once in a while to clap politely or to point at the screen and ask, "Who's that?"
By the end of the launch, I'd distributed my entire stock of cards for the day, put away a large helping of smashing gajar ka halva and connected with my first celebrity author of the event: HM Naqvi (Home Boy).
In all, not a bad start. More on the main festival in the days to come!