The Jaipur Literature Festival been on the front pages of my news paper daily, for couple of days, thanks to Salman Rushdie and his "Satanic Verses", and some of our desi writers quest for the freedom of thought and its expression or maybe a little name for themselves. After my prescribed dose of news from the print media, I switched on to the visual one. And by some mystique twist, I got stuck with the face of Barkha Dutt and Winfrey Oprah against the Jaipur Lit Fest backdrop.
The talk loomed over diverse subject matters, as diverse as literature and marriage, social networking and American presidential elections. Winfreys answers were impressive and quite informative too. It had the honesty of someone who had 'herself' as the center of the world. Some one who didn't pretend otherwise, that there exist some other greater love in their life, than themselves. The scribes had the flashlights for ever and the new journalist on foot with the mobile cameras fought for their place in the front, for the perfect shot.
My upbringing or maybe the tastes in life, I acquired cause of the upbringing, makes me consider sacred, Voltaire, Russell and many others of the same genre, forming a 'league of elites'. It has Newton in it, Einstein and our own nearly nude Gandhi; enlightened souls, whose quest for excellence was about their beliefs in a general phenomenon, which made them immortals. Their pursuit of excellence in their beliefs, is what makes them sacred to me rather than the beliefs themselves. Physics to politics, from being the savage to the will of the people, excellence was what paved the change.
Maybe Winfrey and Barkha would be the torch bearers of the new kind of excellence, of the present times. The excellence in being a jack of all trades, Mr. Who Knows not all, but considerably. Some kids born by the end of the century would listen to these talks from Winfrey and Barkha and many others, with the same reverence I hold Russell and his friends.