Professor Dheeraj talked about a Hindi book called Rag Darbari by Shrilal Shukla who won the Sahitya Akademi Award for this book: a satirical story of the loss of moral values post independence. He shows rural life in India as it was in the 60s and 70s. It has also been adapted as a televised series starring Om Puri, but it doesn’t seem to have made its way to the ubiquitous Youtube yet. You can listen to the author speak here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQ2SX0sQkDg
Most of the students were more familiar with the Hindi writer Munshi Premchand only. Reading Hindi does not seem to be very much in vogue at the student level.
Although reading Hindi is not in vogue, mythology is. Khyati is a mythology buff and recommends books by Kavita Kane such as Sita’s Sister and Menaka’s Choice. Kavita Kane likes to study overlooked characters like Lakshman’s wife and the desirable apsara Menaka. If mythology interests you, you might want to check out A.K.Ramanujan’s work, a student advised. For more commercial spins of ancient times, Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi is a good read, said another.
The famous retelling of Illiad by Madelline Miller called Song of Achilles was discussed. It’s a brilliant retelling of an age old epic in lyrical prose.
As it is with almost every BYOB gathering we’ve had so far, Khaled Hosseini was not forgotten and his beautiful and relevant prose was discussed. Both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns are favorites.
Anand talked about Paper Towns by John Green. Anand liked the intellectual nature of the love story mystery. This book has won the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery.
Some other books the students at IIIT Delhi talked about included Sherlock Holmes and there was even a diversion to the nature of Indian geography. All in all it was a session that brimmed with life and curiosity.