Sunday 10 February 2013

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 41

Far 16 rocks!
10.2.2013, Mumbai

Two years ago I became a part of a book club where 16 of us from different walks of life and professions read a book and a month later met up to discuss and review the characters and the story.

Most of us were unknown to each other at that time and connected to each other via our mobiles/ emails/ addresses.  What helped was that we lived in close surroundings and could collect at the venue in 15 minutes.

Two years ago we were strangers and careful with our ways and words with each other. Today, we are friends – not the 24X7 who live from each other’s pockets but strong, dependable sorts who we can count on in our happy and low moments of life.

The process for the book club members is a fairly simple one. We meet once a month at a date convenient to all of us. The time is fixed 6.30 pm and the venue, one of the member’s home. The host prepares a hot snack –usually upma-chutney or chana-pav and some of us, the more hospitable ones carry pot luck or dessert for the group.

The first hour is reserved to attack the food, exchange hugs and kisses and catch up with what’s going on in everybody’s lives. There is so much cheer and excitement at the dining table that we often forget the real purpose of our meeting. Jokes aside, we are always excited to discuss, dissect, recall and review the book. One of us conducts the meeting – asking everybody to share their impressions and the other reads the review of the book and background of the author.

Sometimes, we invite the author to be a part of our session and she shares her journey of writing the book. We have so far had many celebrity authors like Priya Kapoor, Deepti Naval and last time Laksmi Narayan author of Kitchen Bonsai. Lakshmi traveled all the way from South Bombay to be a part of Far 16 evening and we were engrossed in her story telling about how an idea bloomed into a book.

Before signing off we take suggestions from everybody for the book to read next month and try as far as possible to pick a different genre and subject, final decision taken on votes. Post meet one member puts up the review and the minutes of the evening on mail so that those who have not been able to attend feel a part of the experience. For the last many weeks it has been Pragnya Chandra who is a writer in the making and we look forward to her posts as excitedly as we do o our meetings.

Cheers to Far 16 who believe that a book a month keeps self doubts away…

Bhawana Somaaya/

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