Sankharshan spoke about a stand-up comedian who faced the heat of controversy in India recently– Trevor Noah who wrote Born a Crime. Since Sankharshan has a long commute to work these days, he invests in audiobooks: “It works out fine if the narrator has a sense of humor and if he knows how to breathe when he talks.”
Trevor Noah has the perfect audio voice and his book arrived at a time when Sankharshan was trying to understand more about how geographies can determine the history of political action. The memoir of someone whose very birth was a crime tells you a lot about the geography in which he was born. Today Trevor Noah is the host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show and a popular stand-up comedian but the backstory of his radical candor was the hard reality having a Dutch father and a Xhosa mother during the Apartheid era in South Africa.
Apurba also talked about an audiobook, the first time at the BYOB Party that we had two audiobooks in a row. Let Your Mind Run: Thinking Your Way to Victory by Deena Kastor, Olympian runner, is a New York Times Best Seller. Kastor has faced her share of hardship. She was on the brink of burnout when she met her coach Joe Vigil who taught her the art of self-care as an essential component of securing long-distance running wins.
Says Apurba, “I loved listening to Deena Kastor talk about how she shifted from sprints to long-distance running. Although I hate self-help books, I could identify with Kastor’s positivity. She learned not to beat herself for not reaching a goal and empathized with herself as running is hard work and involves many sacrifices such as eating right and discipline.”
Apurba mentioned how she almost gave up on a marathon. When she congratulated herself on how far she had come, she was able to finish the marathon. “Many times, we all berate ourselves even when we all have come such a long way. We need to appreciate ourselves more and see how far we have come.”
It’s not the first time we have talked about running at the BYOB Party. Murakami and his marathons are a hot topic. Many writers are good runners. Besides Murakami, Erich Segal was another writer who ran the Boston Marathon every year.
Abhaya talked about Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent, the first definitive natural history of the Indian subcontinent, by Pranay Lal.
Lal covers facts. Although he is a biochemist, his deep interest in the geological narrative of India helps create a compelling read. He talks about how the Ellora caves are hewn from igneous rock, Bengaluru’s relatively more pleasant climate (at least until recently) being the result of tectonic events that took place 88 million years ago and the Rajasaurus.
“The book has risen from curiosity and a sense of play. The timescale is much bigger than Harari’s Sapiens but the book doesn’t leave you with lingering larger than life questions, only the pure unadulterated joy of finding things out. So now when I visit Chitradurga or Lal Bagh, I look at the earth beneath my feet differently. A children’s version of the natural history and geography of India would also be interesting, Indica’s detailed bibliography and colorful layout make for such a fun read that I also hope for something like this for Indian philosophy,” Abhaya mused.
Watch this interview with Pranay Lal.
And with that, we come to the end of the BYOB Party in February 2019.