Reading Together: 40th Meetup
Written by: kislay kishan
Edited by: Puneet Agrawal
‘So many books, so little time!’
Coordinated by Vipul and Ankit, the 40th Meetup of the club was an experience that will remain etched in my memory forever; for the books chosen by the respective readers, or ‘buddies’, were exceptional; and because there have been considerable additions to my reading list.
Though I am not fond of nonfiction; ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ seemed interesting for it covered the views of a person as a neurosurgeon as well as a patient. This quote from the book— What happened to him was tragic but he was not a tragedy— captures the very essence of the book.
Certain books which have always sat comfortably on my list of most cherished books, be it ‘The Book Thief’ or ‘Animal Farm’ or even the book chosen by me and my buddy, ‘The Trial’, were discussed. To discuss such books is nothing but bliss as, though they were written long back, and their status as cult classics cannot be contended, they are still as relevant today as they were then; and aren’t we all trapped in a Kafkaesque system?
The dystopian novel, ‘Brave New World’ was intriguing for in it humans were manufactured in hatcheries and the entire world was bereft of love and how spending time alone was reprehensible. It reminded me a lot of Ayn Rand’s ‘Anthem’. The ‘Soma’ was irrefutably the best part as a quote of the book itself states— Every soma-holiday is a bit of what our ancestors used to call eternity.
The one book, that I, for one, loved was ‘Madhushala’ by Harivansh Rai Bachchan; for its every single line is capable of affecting you in many ways. Few of its lines I certainly love are:
दुतकारा मस्जिद ने मुझको कहकर है पीनेवाला,
ठुकराया ठाकुरद्वारे ने देख हथेली पर प्याला,
कहाँ ठिकाना मिलता जग में भला अभागे काफिर को?
शरणस्थल बनकर न मुझे यदि अपना लेती मधुशाला।
Krishnamurthi’s book, ‘On Love and Loneliness’ was also discussed; the serenity and peacefulness that you find in emptiness and loneliness. The quote from the book— The description is never of the described one— was also examined as to how apt it is to today’s life. The writing is beautiful and relatable and it delves on complex issues of love and emptiness.
One of Ajith Kaur’s books, ‘Gauri’ was also explored. I have not read a Hindi book since the times of yore, but after this meetup, I vowed to take it up. The book poignantly sums up the turmoil every woman has to suffer in today’s society. It was a colloquial account of a woman who was sold like a commodity and how she was abused both physically and emotionally. It exhibits that how, as soon as she sets foot on this Earth, she is continuously slayed by perpetrators in many-a-ways unimaginable; and how she lacks an individualistic identity as she is known only as someone’s daughter or someone’s wife.
The crime-horror, ‘Red Dragon’ was also analysed. The entire Hannibal series has been one of my favourites; its elaborate description of scenes and the way cannibalism is depicted in the story.
Some books which were discussed, as has been mentioned above, and some which weren’t mentioned, are as follows:
1. When Breath Becomes Air
2. Veronica Decides to Die
3. The Book Theif
4. Animal Farm
6. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
7. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
8. The Hobbit
9. Brave New World
10. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
11. Land of Seven Rivers
12. Ocean of Churn
14. On Love and Loneliness
15. Resilience Dividend
17. Red Dragon
18. Safe Haven
19. Sons and Lovers