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So, @JLFInsider didn’t have all the insider information, even if they had much of the snark

By February 5, 2018No Comments

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An undercover ‘outsider’ was watching.


Hey, Upper East Siders, Gossip Girl here, and have I got news. Spotted, or notspotted: lonely Tweeter desperate for love – or a sideways glance from a certain dimpled poet (we’re looking at you, Jovan Mays, are you looking at us?) – goes online to live-tweet, crowd-source and fan-girl, or fan-boy, or fan-tasise the “greatest literary show” on earth. Some might call this a #shitfest (and some did), but at Diggi, it was known as @JLFInsider.

We’re all for anonymity and gossip. We heart J Mathrubhootham and Elena Ferrante equally. We slyke double-dealing when it concerns sartorial choices (what was he wearing? A cravat or a neckerchief? We’ll have to call it a tie), epithetical puns (Hey there, Chandragas Choudhury. Who says the moon’s atmosphere doesn’t contain some fumes?), caste-consciousness (no reservations about these), calling out mansplainers and manels and all manner of manterrupting manifestations (we’ll call it the Manusmriti). In general, we approve of most of the JLF demographic: hair-tossers, selfie-takers, Rupi-groupies, name-droppers, social-climbers, navel-gazers, eavesdroppers and voyeurs of all genders. After all, January in Jaipur is a great time for a Cold War.

But can we be honest?

We weren’t big fans of the handle when it manhandled a conversation between a certain young diva and a certain other young diva (we say this in no particular order) on the Front Lawns on Sunday. Now we may have wanted more moxie than sexy in that conversation, but there’s no reason a little prattle about Bombay landlords, makeup tips and boyfriends can’t be meaningful or intelligent.

We like snark, @JLFInsider, but the freedom of anonymity must be used with restraint. There’s a fine line between satire and derision – and that line might be a cravat. With great power comes great responsibility. (Mind you, we’re not saying you have great power, just that you don’t have great responsibility.) There are always valuable points to be made about the level of engagement and literary discourse, but let’s keep it clean. It’s lonely at the top, darling, even if all you did was put on your heels to get there.

On the most keenly watched Twitter feed of the year so far, we finally discovered that Sarahah had some use after all – mainly anonymous tips about the unparalleled attractiveness of certain panelists – and were impressed AF with the handle keeping up with technology and the Kardashians. It did seem a bit odd, though, that the handle took such great offence to frivolity onstage but never hesitated to gaze adoringly on some of the more conventionally covetable speakers. Speaking of sexy panellists, this writer was personally torn between Prayaag and Pragya, and we’d have liked to get mixed up in more than just anagrams.

We rolled our eyes – is it true there’s an emoji for that now? – at the handle’s party-hopping (in Jaipur they call it palace-hopping), but were amused to note that the handle was clearly not invited to the more clandestine affairs.

I mean, just where were you on the night that the young maharajah had a shindig in his private chambers, JLF Insider? Can it be that the night was younger than you are?

A word to the wise for 2019: darlings, thank you. We love your lampoonery when you call out the savarnas, the chauvinists, the fake news, the anti-anti-nationals, the free-speech killers – and, of course, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi and Suhel Seth. We chortle with laughter at the never-ending drinking games: drink when someone mentions “Oxford” or “Cambridge”; drink when someone says “Booker” or “Nobel”; drink when someone says “fearless” or “courageous”. We were pretty plastered at JLF, thanks to your shenanigans.

Now if you could avoid turning it into an exasperating farrago of distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies, it would be just swell. Napoleon once said secrets travel fast in Paris. They travel faster in Diggi, and we may soon know who you are.

Is karma a bitch? We know someone who is.


This story was contributed by someone who calls themselves JLFOutsider, even though there’s no such thing.


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