Sssshhh! Books at work
Involvement in most book clubs requires reading suggested titles or genres or participating in literary activities. However, that is not the case with the Silent Book Club. The entire purpose of this club is to inculcate a love for reading and so, as its name suggests, members get together to sit and read whatever they have brought along.
“Most sessions last about 45 minutes after which there’s a 15-minute period for anyone to share what they’ve read if they wish to,” says Anand Chaturvedi, founder of Avasar Foundation which runs the Silent Book Club. ”We disperse after that. There is no pressure to complete a book. It’s an opportunity to come together and motivate each other to read. It also helps those who are inherently shy by creating a safe environment to read and speak in public at their own pace. ”
Begun in November 2019, the Silent Club did not allow the ensuing lockdown to get in the way of their reading time together. They simply logged into a Zoom call and read from the confines of their homes.
There is no membership fee to join the Silent Book Club whose members usually meet once a week or online, every Saturday. Readers in the Whitefield area can drop in to the Avasar Foundation, Seegehalli in Kadugodi. To join, log in to forms.gle/okcFTUDn1noHZZnv7
Did you know a professional Scrabble board could cost close to ₹8000? Or that the tiles alone could set you back a couple of thousands? Well, there is far more to game than just triple letter scores. The Scrabble Association of India comprises about 300 players across the country with the largest club in Karnataka.
What used to be the Bangalore Scrabble Club, is now the Karnataka State Scrabble Association (KSSA) which conducts informal tournaments, quizzes and other activities, both online and offline on a regular basis. “A couple of times a year, we also conduct formal coaching sessions for those interested in learning how to play Scrabble,” says Suchindra Potnis, committee member, KSSA.
The KSSA is affiliated with the Scrabble Association of India (SAI) and the World English Scrabble Players Association (WESPA). Club members include people of all ages and from all walks of life — professionals, homemakers, students, scientists, retirees — who renew their subscription of ₹1000 annually.
The KSSA Indian Open Tournament is scheduled to be held between January 26-29 at the MuSigma Campus in ITPL Whitefield in Bengaluru. For more information on the club or the tournament, log on scrabblekssa.wordpress.com
Savour the verse
In his unpoetically titled essay, ‘How to Enjoy Poetry’, the poet and novelist James Dickey offers this distilled wisdom about poetry: “When you really feel it, a new part of you happens, or an old part is renewed, with surprise and delight at being what it is.” Often, this delight is intensified when shared with a fellow human. For this purpose, poetry clubs have existed, are existing, and hopefully will exist. The Write Out Loud intimate poetry sessions, which happen every Tuesday from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm at Lahe Lahe, are occasions to discover, enjoy, and celebrate poems of all languages. Write Out Loud is special for Lahe Lahe’s co-founder Mansee Shah Thard because it is the first event they hosted in 2015. The place began with poetry.
Fee: ₹150 per session, open to all. To join, contact Lahe Lahe: 9886294444
Bonding through bikes
When Vidya Chandran started cycling, there were not many female riders in Bengaluru. She often rode with the guys. Around early 2018, she started receiving requests from other women to join her rides. They all lived in different directions. It was difficult for Vidya to accompany them all. So, she created a WhatsApp group to coordinate all-women rides across the city. The group, now called SpokesWomen, has about 350 members of all ages. It also has an Instagram page with over 1,500 followers. Apart from organising rides in and around, the riding community also puts together annual events like treasure hunts and garage sales. This year, it is also planning outstation training camps for beginners and experienced riders of the group.
Open to all women; no fee. To join, DM the spokes_women Instagram page.
Big boys and small cars
Like Andy from the Toy Story series, Aditya Menon, too, grew out of his toys post-boyhood. He put his treasured miniature car models away for adolescent pastimes like television watching and sports. Then, a few years ago, he happened to revisit his little cars. They took him back into boyhood. . He also found fellow admirers of car models. Thus the Beantown Model Collectors Club was born in 2017. It now has 26 members – all adults who take their miniature models seriously. The club has a combined collection of over 10,000 scale models of cars, bikes, aeroplanes, locomotives, military models, ships, buildings, and diorama sets. Apart from the regular meetups, it also brings out a quarterly magazine, The Beantowner.
Membership fee: ₹7,500. Open to people over 18. To join, write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell a tale
In 2013, a bunch of professional storytellers from the city – a small but growing group – wanted to promote the art of oral storytelling. They felt it was exclusively catered to children and wanted it to be popular among adults as well. So, they started the Bangalore Storytelling Society (BSS) to revive, promote, and nurture oral storytelling. The community has grown slowly and steadily over the years. About 10,000 people have either told or listened to a story through BSS. The group meets on the first or the second Sunday of the month. Each month has a theme. Four to five storytellers, on a first-come-first-serve basis, are allowed to narrate a 10-minute tale from mythology or folktales. Apart from the regular monthly meetups, BSS also hosts special events. They have exclusive events for children as well.
Open to all. To join, write to them at the Bangalore Storytelling Society Facebook page or email@example.com
Four years ago, when she moved to Bengaluru, Shraddha Modi, a psychologist and special educator, wanted to organise an event for the World Mental Health Day (October 10). A relative suggested the idea of discussing mental health through films. Shraddha found it interesting. She screened a Chinese film, Ocean Heaven (starring Jet Li), which dealt with autism. More than 20 people turned up for the event and the discussion exceeded Shraddha’s expectations. Overwhelmed by the response, she decided to make it a monthly event and called it ‘Mindful Cinema’. Movies, she says, help people connect with these topics and make it easier to understand and talk about them. The sessions also double up as a safe space to share their own mental health stories.
Fee: ₹200. To join, DM the mind_ful_cinema Instagram page.
Let the magic begin
This is a 12-year-old group, which meets on the first Sunday of every month at Lahe Lahe, Indiranagar. Sonali Bhatia, the founder says, “We discuss various aspects of Harry Potter, based on the seven books, that can be applied to our life today. For instance, our last discussion was parenting in Harry Potter and its effects on the characters. These sessions are open to anyone aged 12 years and above. “The only criteria is that they should have read all the seven books of Harry Potter.” Sonalisays the sessions include debates, quiz and activities.
Fee per session is ₹150. Call Lahe Lahe to connect with Bangalore Potterheads.
The land of arts
Started by Bharatanatyam dancer, Veena C Sheshadri, Kalasampada is a dance school in RR Nagar that teaches mridanga and Carnatic vocals. The aim, says Veena, is to use performing arts to help people imbibe Indian culture and become art connoisseurs.It is open to anyone from age six to 80. Besides the theoretical aspect of classical performing arts, they also use traditional puppet shows and music to teach. Veena believes to get through art and life one needs the four D’s — discipline, determination, dedicated and devotion.
To join, visit veenakalasampada.com or contact 9901830830
More than Monopoly
Karthik Balakrishnan, a software engineer, started a board game community called Reroll in 2016. They meet every Thursdays at ever since. If you think they just sit around playing Monolopy or Scrabble, think twice. Karthik says they use board games that not many would have heard of. “We have a collection of 250 board games including Ticket To Ride or Carcassonne, with each session being three hours long.” You can walk in alone or with friends, form a team and start playing.
To join, visit reroll.in