Amish Tripathi tells audience to smoke up

Jan 20, 2014, 08:01 IST | Kanika Sharma

The literary carnival in Jaipur got crazier as author Amish Tripathi told crowds that smoking marijuana is what Shiva devotees do

Jaipur: Best-selling author and marketing genius Amish Tripathi had the audience splitting and spilling on the third day of the Jaipur Literature Festival. Tripathi spoke of his literary process and how he journeyed from being an atheist to a Shiva devotee.

Amish Tripathi, author of the Shiva trilogy, spoke to the audiences of his writing process
Amish Tripathi, author of the Shiva trilogy, spoke to the audiences of his writing process

The popular author enjoyed a wide spectrum of readers pertaining to the age group of 15 to senior citizens. In response to the question of a young audience member regarding Tripathi’s devotion to the lord, the writer replied, “You know all of us Shiva devotees get together on Maha Shiv Ratri and stay up all night where we drink, dance and even smoke up.”

Extending the point, he said, “Marijuana is actually less harmful for you than alcohol. In India, it was legally available till a few decades ago. There was an international movement driven by the US, which forced practically all the countries to ban marijuana. Now, US is not reversing this in many states.”

At this point, the audience broke into applause while he further educated, “In India, many decades ago they used to sell marijuana in shops.” Meru Gokhale, the editorial director of Vintage Books India that comes under the Random House publishing house interjected, “they used to be called Sarkari Bhaang ki Dukaan” on the thought of which the audience loudly chuckled.

Exposing the farce, Tripathi concluded, “Having said all this, every single intoxicant including marijuana is not good for you. A philosophical rule in life is if you are not able to handle it, don’t do it. And once, a year is okay, more than that is not,” to which the audience responded with thunderous applause. Clearly a complete entertainer, this.

Exciting opportunities for vernacular literature
From Vani Prakashan to Harper Collins and Kali for Women, BookMark is a new platform at this year’s fest that has 14 publishing houses who will actively contribute and coin new trends to the Indian publishing industry. Not only this, the platform has been generated to encourage better publishing practices and a wider scope for Indian writers and emphatically, vernacular writers. A three-day affair, this is the first time the collaborating platform will have casual discussions and informal evening interactions.

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