SIBF and us
It was a dream come true...that sounds very clichéd. Let me start a bit differently.
At the 37th edition of Sharjah book fair or SIBF 2018 at the expo centre, I discovered something _ the talks by authors and other influencers on the sidelines of the fair and the sale of books - thanks to a flyer Mira brought from school listing important programmes. SIBF must have also got more media savvy because there were advertisements everyday in the newspapers, and I guess FM radios too, on what each day's events were. The weekdays had programmes for school kids in the forenoon hours. Mira attended one, where Indian actress Soha Ali khan (more famous as the sister of Saif Ali khan and daughter of MAK Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore) spoke to school kids and did some boomerang exercises. She must have been impressive as an influencer because some kids bought copies of her book, The perils of being moderately famous, so that they could get her to sign it. Our kid, the cinema buff, must have been pretty influenced too for she got her dad to buy her the book a day later and has been devouring it ever since, banking on me to play dictionary when she fumbled to understand.
I attended a session on social media careers along with two other Indian freelancer ladies, one a content creator venturing to start a new website, and the other, an Instagrammer with 1500 followers hoping to increase her fan base. The Arab speaker, who runs an ad agency in silicone oasis, gave us some tips on how to go about establishing a foothold in the virtual world, though much of what he said was drowned in the din outside _ of excited schoolchildren, announcements on the loudspeaker and the general cacophony that characterizes a place that receives over 2 million people in 11 days. His uncanny resemblance to a neighbor back home, who ran a couple of wayside shops selling knick-knacks and lime soda but still had to sent his younger son to Dubai to toil in the merciless desert sun, also distracted me. Babu was modest in his oil-slick hair, white mundu-pastel coloured shirt and BSA cycle but our motivator looked debonair in his gel slick hair and three -piece suit (and surely a luxury car befitting a CEO). He distributed his visiting cards and hoped to hear from us. Will I?