15 key takeaways from Amitav Ghosh #FloodOfFire Tour

Amitav Ghosh book launch

Jostling crowds around a liquor counter at an event is no news. But the kick of the tipple turning out to be just a sidekick is. For, a cocktail of a photo op and signature of Amitav Ghosh seemed headier than the intoxication besotted by Bacchus.

Responding to the well-manicured questions from a budding author Sriram Karri with a great elan, Oh My Gosh, Amitav Ghosh drew more audience toward him pitting literature against liquor at the sprawling Emerald Hall in the basement of the City’s opulent Taj Krishna on Thursday (August 6, 2015) evening.

Revolutionary troubadours, kurta-jeans-clad and grey-bearded bards, trendy ladies and bundles of Ghosh’s works – hardbound and paperbacks – and a mix of fragrance emanating from the myriad scents of Bvlgari, Ck, Hugo Boss, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and the likes wafting away from the fabric of the attendees made the evening august, indeed.

Amitav Ghosh

Idiosyncratic professors from premier institutions, preening poets of their own right, insightful writers, knowledgeable critics, convivial bureaucrats, and pithy playwrights decked up the hall to enrich the evening with intellectual vibes.

Well, organising an event with this intricate mix of intelligentsia ain’t as easy as it appears to be. But when the most experienced boffin of the hospitality industry, the Taj Group, itself shoulders the onus of managing it, things move smoother than they ought to.

It is fun to view the blockbuster launch of the last edition of the most popular Ibis trilogy, Flood of Fire, penned by Amitav Ghosh, that was preceded by the first in the series, Sea of Poppies, and the second, River of Smoke, from the frame of reference of an event technology perspective.

Amitav Ghosh in Hyderabad

Thanks to the team lead by the doyen of hospitality industry Mohan Chandran, head of the Taj group of properties in Hyderabad, there are a lot of key takeaways, and a few “can-be-improvised” areas at the event. The drill before the event seemed so much perfect that the organisers did not want to take chances with anything and let Murphy’s Law – Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong – get the better of their planning.

  1. Print a classy and a glossy invite and send it across to a limited number of people who can actually enrich the function.
  2. Create social media buzz through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  3. The call-to-action (Going, Maybe, Not Attending) button on Facebook itself indicates the attendee info (that typical RSVP), giving a ballpark figure of number of attendees.
  4. Armed with a near-accurate guestlist, have the foot soldiers on their toe to take charge of any situation.
  5. Pre Plan the parking with valet at the beck and call of the one driving in a Maruti 800 or a Jaguar.
  6. Seating layout with tables should be planned to its tee, so that a 20 per cent unexpected guests can also be accommodated. This eliminates last-minute confusion.
  7. Keeping the intro brief and directly getting on to the agenda without much waiting.
  8. Commencing and concluding the event on time so that the audience do not feel irritated.
  9. Photo sessions with the celeb, and shaking hands (signing of books/autographs) should be allowed based on the crowd size and time left.
  10. If the crowd is too large to manage, this session can be dispensed with.
  11. Serving a welcome drink (soft drink/mocktail/smoothie) must be stopped by the time the event commences.
  12. Position senior and well-trained ladies and gentlemen to ensure silence, for their internal whispering or murmuring may cause disturbance to the event. If all guests are seated, the scope for such disturbance is minimised.
  13. Acoustics must be so much diligent that even a whisper into the microphone must be picked up and transmitted, so that the audition of the speaker doesn’t get hampered.
  14. Adopt a technology app like MoozUp for interactions so that the chief guest, moderator, or an emcee need not struggle to spot the questioner during a mandatory Q&A session.
  15. If cocktails and dinner are served at the event, make sure drinks are served at the table at regular frequency. And also, let there be large bar counter with glasses filled with pegs to avoid crowds.

Images sourced from here

A Saye Sekhar

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