In the first session of the BYOB Party, we had talked about myth and its role in Indian writing, not just in the past but more so now when there is so much room for retelling and reinterpretation.
Post myth, the world turns into a very pragmatic place.
Manish Mittal, who works in the finance sector, had read a very different kind of book. All fairy tales were fractured at the mention of the book that he had picked up when he was in Berlin. The Art of Thinking Clearly is a massively popular book in a practical country like ours. I had tried reading it but it was a book that saddened me as synchronicity was redefined as delusion. It worked for Manish. “Many of us hold on to irrational decisions for the simple reason that we made those decisions. It’s best to stop before it is too late.”
Being pragmatic is a good thing but sometimes ignorance is bliss. “One good advice in this book is to stop reading the paper,” Abhaya said. “Or stop watching Goswami,” someone added ironically, referring to the angry iconic newreader on TV Channel Times Now.
Shraddha U, a layout engineer with KarMic, talked about Good Omens– there’s a whiff of the weird and the humourous again when Terry Pratchett teams up with guess who? Neil Gaiman. It’s a humorous twist of the Apocalypse. Looks like contemporary writing is about fracturing the norm and literature is seen as a threat by some, mainly because of the subversive trait that reversing plot is.
Sudharsan Narayanan, who works as Partnerships Head at Vantage Circle, has read the entire Discworld series, “Pratchett writes science fiction in ways that no one else does.” He had got a very different kind of book called Napolean’s Buttons: How Seventeen Molecules Changed History— a book for all lovers of interesting trivia. Take the case of tin. It is said that the tin buttons that fell off of coats during the Russian winter may have just cost Napolean the war. Not to forget the spice economy that changed the course of history. “These are the kinds of books that I love,” said Sudharsan, “Like Bryson’s books- have you read Home and A Short History of Nearly Everything?”
Shruti Garodia, a Content Writer, plunged into author Jerry Pinto’s world. Em and the Big Hoom is a book that has received much appreciation and is an autobiographical story of building a life when your mother is mentally ill. Shruti has attended Pinto’s workshops and is a fan of his engaging writing style. “The amazing thing about the book is that it takes a dark subject and fills it with triumph. The book could be very depressing, with its mention of medicine and disease, but you don’t get bogged down by it all.”
Shalini Nahata is the founder of Baltendu Educations and also does reading parties for children. She recommended a book edited by Sudha Murthy called Something Happened on the Way to Heaven. “Many people shared their stories for a contest run by Penguin,” said Shalini, “Sudha Murthy handpicked the stories from thousands of entries. You should read this book as all the stories are about loving life, very uplifting.”
The highlight of the party was when Shalini’s son, Arhaan, read out his favorite book and as it is with children, when they say favorite, they mean it. Arhaan knows Ricky Ricotta’s Giant Robot by Dav Pilkey and he knows it verbatim.
More BYOB Party conversations coming up in Part 3.