Audio-Social Learning App Mentza takes the Jaipur Literature Festival’s ‘Baithak’ to the World

Mentza has partnered with JLF so that people can ‘carry the festival with them’ and be a part of its illuminating conversations virtually

Mentza Social App

Jaipur, India: From the 10th to the 14th of March, Live Audio-Social Learning App Mentza is partnering with the Jaipur Literature Festival by sponsoring one of its prize venues, named ‘Baithak’, for which Mentza is the exclusive live audio partner.

Mentza is a live audio-social platform that facilitates unstructured learning through informal 20 minute conversations that feature experts and leaders from a gamut of different fields. “When we looked at JLF [the Jaipur Literature Festival] we saw a melee of writers, experts, academics, students, book lovers and people interested in arts, culture, literature, history and the world at large,” said Mentza Co-Founder and CEO Anurag Vaish. “We saw curious thinkers who wanted to share, engage and learn. This is exactly the kind of audience we have, and the kind of audience we want to build further, for Mentza.”

Mentza’s collaboration with JLF also makes appropriate use of its ‘listening feature’ that allows Mentza members (membership is open to everybody— you just have to sign up) to tune in to the conversations at JLF’s Baithak, from anywhere in the world. “We wanted to, quite literally, let people ‘carry the festival with them’,” said Mentza Co-Founder Tapasi Mittal. “Sessions used to be livestreamed before but we wanted to deliver clear and crisp audio to anyone who wanted to listen in to sessions as they would to podcasts.”

People can sign up to listen to the Jaipur Literature Festival on Mentza or from a page on JLF’s website.

But that’s not all, Mentza’s team is also on ground with the festival, conducting discussions on the panels—at Baithak—with audience members, and taking their questions (as well as questions from Mentza members who aren’t physically present at the festival) to the panellists. Hence, Mentza is acting as a democratic bridge between the writers, academics, experts and leaders on stage, and lay audiences, as it strives to do on its app.

Highlights so far, from Mentza’s ‘Baithak’ at JLF are as follows:

10th March (Day 1 of the On-Ground Festival):

  • Anukruti Upadhyay, Shabir Ahmed Mir, Rijula Das and Shehan Karunatilaka discussed the joys of not knowing where a story will take them.
  • Laxmi Prasad Pant, Mukesh Mathur and Shirish Khare cast a glance at how ground reporting has changed over the years.
  • CP Deval left audiences asking for more, as he dissected the rich oral, linguistic and literary traditions of Rajasthan.
  • Sanjoy K Roy, Dolly Thakore, Ritu Menon and Arghya Lahiri, spoke about their love for theatre.
  • And as a fitting close to an eventful day, Chandra Prakash Deval, Anita Agnihotri, Akhil Katyal, Anshu Harsh and Lakshya Datta prepared a feast of poetry for audiences.

11th March (Day 2 of the On-Ground Festival):

  • Vandana Bhandari, Giles Tillotson and Rima Hooja discussed the rich textile heritage of Rajasthan, and the little known stories behind the magnificent paintings collected by the Jaipur Court.
  • Paramita Satpathy, Anukrti Upadhyay, and Saket Suman spoke at length about reading for pleasure, their love for writing and the art of creating fiction.
  • Rima Hooja and Narmada Prasad Upadhyay took a trip down memory lane, to explore the forgotten murals of Bundelkhand.
  • Onyeka Nwelue, Firat Sunel and Puneeta Roy discovered that language is not the ‘content of thought’ but just ‘the vessel that carries the thought’, while discussing their respective books.
  • Buddhisagar, chudenkabimo and Prabhat Ranjan shone a spotlight on the art of translation.
  • S. Vijay Kumar’s riveting session was about the New York-based antique dealer Subhash Kapoor.
  • Also, Sanjiv Saraf and Pavan K. Varma broke down why the love for Urdu poetry is universal.
  • If you weren’t at the festival, or you were but you missed any of these, you can sign into Mentza and listen to them, at your leisure, anytime. Mentza intends to create 2000 minutes of quality live content from the festival for its members, across genres like books, art, culture, politics, social change, music, poetry, travel, professional growth, entrepreneurship, storytelling, journalism, languages, design and innovation, with names like Barkha Dutt, William Dalrymple, Anupama Chopra, Vandana Bhandari, Alok Nandi and
    Harsh Mariwala.

12th, 13th and 14th March— Panels to watch out for at Mentza’s ‘Baithak’ in JLF
include (but are in no way limited to):

  • Harish Trivedi and Ruth Padel discussing (Rudyard) Kipling in India, and India in Kipling.
  • Entrepreneur and investor, Mohit Satyanand talks to Harsh Mariwala, founder and chairman of Fortune 500 company Marico, about core values of trust, transparency and innovation while giving us a glimpse into the latter’s formative years.
  • Guru Prakash Paswan and Badri Narayan discuss Dalit history and what its historiography should constitute with Rahul Pandita.
  • Chandrakant Lahariya and Ambarish Satwik discuss public health policy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic with Lakshmi Puri.
  • Arun Maheshwari, Aditi Maheshwari-Goyal and Ajit Rai talk about the nuances, challenges and joys of Hindi publishing, and what makes it unique.
  • Arvind Mayaram, Nobel Prize Winner Abhijit V. Banerjee, Madhavan Narayanan and Shailendra Raj Mehta discuss the building blocks of the Indian economy, where it’s at today and where it could go from here.

What is Mentza?

Mentza is a live-audio conversational platform that is home to safe and vibrant communities for people to exchange stories in live 20-minute audio conversations (called circles). These conversations are full of anecdotes, reflections & invaluable knowledge that connect people.

Continuous learning is a critical need that is being serviced by edtech experiences that are lonely, overly structured and tedious. Mentza turns learning on its head by making it fun, social, crisp and conversational. Budding poets encourage each other. Music enthusiasts discuss favourite compositions. Marketing folks swap case studies and best practices. A leader shares her life experiences. A founder talks about building a dream. Or a bunch of people just sharing their favourite memories from school.

Mentza’s audio communities involve experts around subjects as varied as marketing, finance, governance, parenting, entrepreneurship, poetry, sports, arts, careers, travel, tech, books and music.

To become a member of Mentza all you need to do is download the app and register. While members can engage with these conversations when they’re live, they can also listen to them later, as the conversations are recorded