Book Clubs In Mumbai: For the love Of Books, The Kind You Can Hold

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I dislike digital books, the same way I dislike the idea of a long-distance lover. Skype conversations just don’t give you the same kind of butterflies a knock on the door will. These e-books with their cold white characterless pages just don’t do it for me. I much prefer musty yellowed pages. I don’t even mind the occasional dog-ear; it makes me feel connected whoever who read the book before me. While I simply grumble about the digitization of the written word, more productive folk who have embarked on crusades to protect & promote old-school reading. To them I tip my hat.

Mumbai maybe one of the busiest cities in the world but there are lots of lonely people here and books are their best friends

Books from the people, for the people!

Pushpendra Pandya, image courtesy India's First Crowd Sourced Library
Pushpendra Pandya, image courtesy India’s First Crowd Sourced Library

India’s first crowd sourced library was started by Pushpedra Pandya; a self-proclaimed ‘old-school chap’ doing his bit to save the real book reading experience. Two things motivated him to begin collecting books and making them available to readers (besides his love for the written word); loneliness and economics! Mumbai maybe one of the busiest cities in the world but there are lots of lonely people here and books are their best friends” he says.

He began reaching out to people via social media sites, many of whom were quite kicked about the idea and willing to give him books for his library. He would them go meet them himself, gunny sack in toe, and collect books. Senior citizens were particularly willing to part with their prized collections, and this helped him build a collection.

He was amazed at the response he got. An IT manager from Bandra volunteered to help him set up a website, an e-marketing professional from Vasai offered her expertise and a techie from Bangalore joined forces with Pushpendra to start a Bangalore branch of the library. All of this growth has happened in under two months’ time, from the 9th of October when the library officially opened. You can visit their website or Facebook page for more details on the very affordable membership fees, terms and conditions.

The chance to meet people who have different interests than I do and discover books that I assume I am not interested in.

Bonding over books

Bringing people together, image courtesy Bound Together Bombay
Bringing people together, image courtesy Bound Together Bombay

As Pushpendra rightly said, Mumbai is a lonely city and it’s hard to meet likeminded people. For readers, joining a book club is a great way of socialize.  Avid reader Varkha Israni joined two book clubs recently, Literati Café a new initiative by the Crossword and Bound Together Bombay. What prompted her to join? “The chance to meet people who have different interests than I do and discover books that I assume I am not interested in.” She likes reading Historic fiction and mythology, but book clubs help her pick up books she wouldn’t normally read.

A Bound Together Bombay Poster
A Bound Together Bombay Poster

Bound Together Bombay was founded by Delnaz Joshi and Aarti Chandhok Kapoor, who indecently ran small independent book clubs until they decided to team up in early 2012. The group periodically announces a small reading list, which is circulated via social media channels. Participants can read any or all the books on the list, and then sign up for a meet which is usually held at a coffee shop or bar. The next event will be held on the 23rd of January. For those interested, the books being discussed are Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami and Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee.

A similar group was started by a pair of friends, Miti Vaidya and Gayatri Makhijani. This groups meets in the Mumbai’s suburbs once a month to discuss a book. Members usually get a chance to vote for a book out of a small selection. Check out their Facebook group for more.

Turns out my worries are baseless, Mumbai still loves to read real books. Whether you want a book for a friend or to make a friend over a book, you know where to go. Also find our earlier post on interesting libraries in Mumbai here. Happy reading!

Post By Salonee Gadgil (86 Posts)

I'll chat with my imaginary pet dog and perfect a handstand while the rest of you act like grown ups.

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Salonee Gadgil

Salonee Gadgil
I'll chat with my imaginary pet dog and perfect a handstand while the rest of you act like grown ups.