New-age book clubs are a platform for women to connect, let loose and, yes, read
Reading is a passion for many people but they hardly find time to do so. Enter book clubs. There you read, discussed the book and went home. End of story. From this evolved another form of a book club where it is not just about the reading.
These new age book clubs have provided a platform for like minded women to come together, read, and have a good time. They ensure that all the members are on the same wavelength making the meetings about more than just the book. These clubs have become forums for women to meet and connect with other like minded women.
The Bindaas Bakwaas Book Club (BBBC) is one such. "I had been to a couple of book club meetings in the US, accompanying some of my work-colleagues. There I was invited to give them a dimension of Indian culture since they were reading either an Indian author or a book set in India. I thought it would be a good idea to start one like that here in Hyderabad, and have a way to widen my friends circle,” says Lekha Sishta, founder of the group.
The reading habit brought all these women together but it wouldn't be wrong to say that it has evolved into a support group whose members pursue the same passion. “Our club isn't what people might generally imagine a book club to be. I joined the club with a lot of trepidation thinking that I would be in the company of intellectuals or worse still - pseudo intellectuals. But I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in a group of fun loving, truly bindaas women who also read. It took only a few meetings for me to shed my inhibitions and begin to enjoy myself. The group has helped me to a large extent in shaping my personality. My fellow book club members have convinced me that ‘age is just a number' is not an empty cliché after all!” says Sunita Reddy.
These groups give people a chance to interact with a medley of personalities who're also complementary, while letting you do something you enjoy but didn't have time for. So, it is like coming up for air.
“Typically at the workplace or even in one's home, you do not find too many people enthused about reading books. One longs for a little intellectual stimulation, of sharing thoughts that go beyond movies, children, family matters and politics - office and national. It is one escape route away from general ennui that sets in life, particularly after you get over the anxieties of bringing up small kids, trying to make your place in office and family, etc" says Kinnera Murthy, an avid reader.
At BBBC, one book is chosen per month, at the end of which the group meets to discuss it. They read excerpts from the book that stood out for them or that they didn't agree with, adding to it their personal insights and experiences.
“Some of us are prolific readers, others not quite so - characteristically, we are not . For me, the pieceone reads and discussions that follow, help me get to know my friends a little better, understand and empathise with them a bit more,” says Navanita Lahiri. T
The groups doesn't stick to any particular genre, so the books range from crime thrillers and romance to drama and historicals and biographies.
“One of my favourite books in the recent past has been The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. I found myself strongly relating to the character but some other members had a very different take leading to an interesting debate," says Padma Ramesh who describes herself as a tiger mother!
Once the debates and discussions are out of their way, the meetings are about pure fun! The women let go and let each other be, as individuals.
Books have always made for great conversation starters but now they also let you form bonds that will last a lifetime. These clubs let you chat with abandon, laugh your heart out and know that you're not being judged. Almost like a sisterhood, they travel together for holidays, watch movies and have a good time. It is said that female friendships that work are relationships that help each other be themselves quite like this group allows. Along with a book, of course!