With no malice, intellectuals raise a Kasauli peg for Khushwant at litfest

There couldn't have been a better setting for an evening of literature, music, conversations and memories. As the setting sun spread its golden rays on the gorgeous mountains and the cool, crisp air of Kasauli enveloped the senses, it was time to enter the grand ballroom of the Kasauli Club and take your seats for the first Khushwant Singh Literary Festival that kicked off on Friday evening at the Club to pay tribute to Khushwant Singh's contribution to literature. A labour of love of Singh's son, Rahul Singh and a circle of friends and book lovers, the inauguration was a houseful, with people from Chandigarh, Delhi et al driving up for the absorbing literary sessions and a mesmerizing musical evening. "My father could not be here, but he did send a hand-written note thanking all of you who are here for the love of literature. There could not have been a better place than Kasauli for this festival, as my father wrote so much of his literary works, columns et al in Kasauli," said Rahul. Reading out from his father's letter Rahul said, "Kasauli is a diverse place, do look after my Kasauli.''

The first session of the evening began with the screening of Suresh Kohli's documentary 'Till The Pen Falls' on the life of Khushwant Singh, born in 1915 at Hadali village in Pakistan. Kohli describes the work 'as a bolt from the blue'. Shot partly in Kasauli and his home in Delhi, Kohli gets his audience up, close and personal to Khushwant Singh, the writer, editor, journalist, husband, father, friend.In his imitable candid style Khushwant speaks to the camera about the diversity of his work, his life and his portrayal in the media. "I work all day long and then enjoy my scotch, and yes, I compliment beautiful women. There are so many facets about a man, one for the world, one for me," his simple life, nurturing new talent, living life to the hilt, the documentary captures him at ease, replete with wit, humour and thoughts.

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