Scale, the Gut, Tissues and Travel @ BYOB Party at IISc in January 2018 (Part 8)
Have you heard of the Super Commander Dhruv series? I hadn’t until I was at this BYOB Party!
A non-fiction book that provoked some discussion was Scale by Geoffrey West. This transdisciplinary book is a must-read if you want to understand how systems and networks work. Beneath the complicated exterior of living systems from bodies and cities to businesses, there are simple home truths that can be measured and that are common to all.
Another interesting non-fiction that was discussed was Gut by Giulia Enders. The book talks about how the most under-appreciated organ in the human body deserves much more recognition. Enders talks about variety of issues including digestive issues like acid reflux and lactose intolerance. She talks about how the gut deals with trillion microorganisms and how your gut feeling is a true indication of the link between metabolism and the mind. A good book to digest.
Abhaya talked about The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton. He picked up the book as he has been traveling more of late and the question often came up about why anyone would travel at all, considering the amount of resources and experiences available online. Discovery of nations is long done. Almost every culture has been explored. The book contains around eight essays each of which explores a different aspect of travel. On the whole, he found the experience of reading the book very satisfying and recommends it to everyone who has caught the wanderlust bug. You might want to sample a bit of Alain de Botton by checking out his Youtube channel.
Both Rakesh and Sunny got the well-known book by Khalid Hosseini. Hosseini is quite a staple at the BYOB Parties. We’ve all talked about Kiterunner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. The latter is a historical fiction that tells the story of two women, Mariam and Laila, who live through different realities imposed in Afghanistan. Khalid gets you at the pulse and this book is at par with The Kite Runner. A Hosseini fan at the BYOB Party recommended that Hosseini’s book be accompanied by a wad of tissues as tearing up was inevitable when you read his work. Sunny loved the way the story seemed to unfold before his eyes as he read. he warned us not to get too attached to the characters so that the book would remain light, Sunny style, and not be overly heavy with emotion. Here’s an excerpt from the novel:
“Women have always had it hard in this country, Laila, but they’re probably more free now, under the communists, and have more rights than they’ve ever had before, Babi said, always lowering his voice, aware of how intolerant Mammy was of even remotely positive talk of the communists. But it’s true, Babi said, it’s a good time to be a woman in Afghanistan. And you can take advantage of that, Laila”
You can watch Hosseini’s interview here.
Abhaya spoke about a Bengali book called Kabulliwale ki Bengali Bao where the author Sushmita Banerjee narrates her own experience of marrying an Afghani businessman, only to realize that his family was regressive. Unable to handle the culture of purdah, she ran away. The story is unbelievable but true as real life can sometimes be. Sushmita Bannerjee was later abducted by the Taliban and shot when she returned to Afghanistan to get back her adopted child.
As the BYOB Party at IISc had a special slant toward poetry, Jaya wrapped up the session with a poem by Gulzar. Listen to the poem here. The raffle prize for the reader who got a book on poetry went to Megha who spoke about Maithili Sharan Gupt’s classic work Saket.
On the whole, this BYOB Party had the highest attendance so far but there was one glitch. The cupcakes we got for the after-party disappeared. “May the bookworm bite the cupcake hoarders!” Abhaya said and with that, we wrap up the BYOB Party at IISc.