It was the eighth anniversary of Pothi.com, the company that Jaya and Abhaya first founded. Last year at approximately the same time, we had our very first book party. The rules are still the same. Unlike conventional book club meets, we don’t discuss only one book. Everyone who comes over talks about a book that they like, and if it’s fiction no spoilers, please!
Shruti Garodia, a content writer who has frequented several of our parties, talked about Jaya’s favorite author Kiran Nagarkar’s books. Ravan and Eddie is a book that she really liked. This book has two sequels: The Extras and Rest in Peace. Nagarkar explores the lives of slum dwellers and goes beyond the stereotype. “What’s amazing is how he sustains his idea throughout all his volumes. He understands the essence of people who live in the slums. They are not appalled by their lives as we would be by bad sanitation and lack of basic things. There are no existential questions for them,” Shruti said.
Baraa Al Mansour, a writer from Syria, who is also doing her Ph.D. in horticulture, likes books that explore philosophy. Life is an Attitude-How to Grow Forever Better is a book that helped her understand more about the power of self-observation. “When we observe our thoughts, we gain control over our lives and we can separate ourselves from external circumstances.” This statement led to a debate on the efficacy of mindfulness. Have the experts got it wrong again?
Nitin Shukla works as Application Developer at Maxim Integrated Inc. He used to live in Delhi and has now moved to Bangalore where books have turned out to be his best friend. A book that influenced him greatly was Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. “ The book is all about finding patterns and it urges you to go after reasons, intuition, cause and effect.” Another writer he discovered who used the premise of reason excessively well was Dostoevsky. He had been reading Notes from Underground. Jaya advised him to read another reason-obsessed Russian writer, Tolstoy’s War and Peace. The conversation meandered to Kabir, the Periodic Table and the Russian book festival in Jaipur, with a treasure trove of great science books, a reason for many to celebrate at the party.
Sudharsan from Vantage Circle read The Curious Case of Dr. Binayak Sen by Dilip D Souza, award winning writer and journalist. The book shocked Sudharsan and he recommended that everyone who had a conscience read it. The book is about Dr. Binayak Sen who is a pediatrician, public health activist and civil rights activist. He has been accused of sedition and is currently under life imprisonment. Dilip D’Souza has charted out the trajectory of the fall of an individual and the failure of the system. The questions that were discussed were existential in nature. Why is taking a stand wrong? What is the plight of a journalist who dares to tell the truth? Why should one have to take sides when it is impossible to and is there more gray than black and white? Why has sensationalism and propaganda replaced the obvious truth?
More books and their readers in Part 2.