Flipping through the pages together

Flipping through the pages together
It was the need to share views and discuss books across genres that gave birth to the ‘Bangalore Ladies Book Club’ in 2015. Neeraja Vinoba, the founder of the club, says that despite the common belief that people of the same gender think alike, exploring varied views among similar people is what kept this group of regulars together as a club.

Having worked in the US for a bit, Neeraja, an IT consultant who was a part of book clubs there, found this platform to be the right connecting point for people from different backgrounds. “We meet every month and discuss a book that’s decided on in the previous meeting. We discuss the book in great length — from what we liked to what we disliked about it, how long we took to finish it and so on,” she says.

The group, which meets at different cafes in Koramangala, includes discussions of varied genres of books. “We don’t do just romantic comedies or fiction or non-fiction books. We have read books on feminism and many others. Our very first book in 2015, when we started, was ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’, which we decided on just because of the title. We try to cover everything so that exposure to books grows every month,” details Neeraja.

She adds that just like other members in the club, she has made new friends here. “With every book we read, there was a little part of me that would open up because we would relate to some parts of the books,” says Neeraja.

Dealing with different perspectives can be a challenging yet a learning experience, says Sabitha Shetty, a yoga trainer and regular at the meetups. “One could have a certain view on a book, while another could have a totally different one. I’ve always enjoyed getting inputs from different minds. This is a fascinating facet of a book club,” she says. Once when they were discussing a book on war, the discussion moved on to present-day topics, she says. “It was a lively experience — very educational and eye-opening,” adds Sabitha.

Meeting different people from different walks of life is another advantage of being a part of the club, says Mridu Singh, an assistant manager. “All of us share this common passion to read books, which binds us together. Each of us has read books at an individual level, in isolation, but sometimes one feels the need to vent out their emotions and thoughts to someone and this is that connecting space. Not every friend one has is interested in reading or reading the titles one does, thus this was a great platform,” says Mridu. She adds, “The club has helped to trigger an intellectual stimulus. Though I wanted to read science fiction, I got into reading even mythology and realised that this was an interesting genre.”

Reading in an organised manner has been a refreshing experience as it has taught one to be more focussed and disciplined, says Sunila Munjal, an entrepreneur, who has been a part of the club since 2015. “When I was back in Bengaluru four years ago, I was looking for something similar but didn’t find anything like that then. Suddenly I was trying my luck again and thankfully information about the club came up,” she says. Sunila adds that she looks forward to the meetups every month because of their format.

“There are many book clubs where people discuss authors or read up any book by the same author. This isn’t the same feeling as it is with our group,” says Sunila. She highlights that reading the book as a group adds to the experience and makes the interaction more fruitful. “This is why most of us look forward to each session. I have learnt to time myself with a book,” she adds.

There are even some like Priyanka Ganguly, a financial services analytics professional, who has picked up the habit of reading passionately after joining the club. “I wasn’t so disciplined when it came to reading and there is much more organised reading now.” She adds that more importantly, the experience was about “connecting with some like-minded people and some not so like-minded ones and think about things from a different perspective.” “It opened up the horizon to a different thought process and that has helped me a lot,” she says.

(The club can be reached at 9986873276)
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