Indian writer-socialite Shobhaa De is being showcased as a “superstar author” at the third Karachi Literature Festival which kicked off today.
But literature isn’t the only thing on De’s mind. Ditto for Pakistanis.
De hopes to take a ride in a bus decorated with Pakistan’s colourful truck art,shop for blue pottery and attend a sangeet-mehndi ceremony at a farmhouse to get a good
feel of Pakistan.
Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie thinks De ‘may bring a touch of glamour to the proceedings at the festival’,ace photographer Tapu Javeri hopes ‘to photograph her’ and some others would ‘gladly love to host her at a do.’
A day before she left for Karachi,De posted on her blog.
“Blogdosts. I am off to Karachi tomorrow. Am a little excited. A little nervous. The programme sounds fascinating. But to be at a session titled ‘Superstar Author’ without dying of embarrassment (secretly tickled!),will be a major feat!” De,of course,has got her priorities right.
She managed to make time to shop for “lawn”,Pakistan’s best known fabric,a day ahead of the festival and seemed quite focused on the next item on her shopping list: Multani blue pottery.
“I need to get Multani plates but I can’t find them. I have been told I can get them from Itwar Bazaar,” she told The Express Tribune at a dinner hosted by Oxford University Press last evening.
The only author at the festival,whose clothes,a green sari,and not any of her 17 best-selling books were described during her introduction,revealed that her “designer friend” Shamaeel Ansari is showing her Karachi.
De said Ansari has been her friend for a long time.
“So it is been interesting to see Karachi through her,” she said.
De told the local media that “Indian socialites are rather curious about how Pakistani women put their outfits together and the long lines of the kurtas”.
She said there was no comparison between Pakistani and Indian women when it comes to beauty the Pakistanis were far more beautiful.
She also posted on her blog: “I may or may not blog from Karachi. Tempted to take the iPad,but would rather people watch and ahem,this time I am definitely going to attempt a bus ride I love the public transport in Karachi.
“The buses are moving works of art,delightfully kitschy and colourful. The last time I suggested it to my local hosts,they nearly fainted and locked me up!!”
De may be the superstar author at the festival but it is difficult for most to look beyond the glamour quotient.
Mahvesh Murad tweeted: “Shobhaa De session starts,glam in sari.”
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