How often have you seen a group of people come together to discuss literature? How often does the group have people in their early 20’s right up to those in their 60’s? I know of very few. The Book Club, started by Satish Khot and Mohini Khot is one fine example of this. Started about 12 years ago, this club meets on the last Monday of every month to discuss and analyse books by renowned authors.
Recently around 25 book enthusiasts met to discuss A Train to Pakistan. The session started with an elaborate introduction of the author — Khushwant Singh — by Seema Chinchore. She spoke about the many facets of the famous author. She described him as a novelist, a columnist, an editor and most perfectly as an ‘iconoclast’. This was followed by a succinct introduction on the various characters in the book by Sunita Shetty, who narrated a synopsis of the story and highlighted the important parts.
After the dramatic recitation the audience shared their views on the story and the issues that the book highlighted. Two of the main issues that the book talks about are the Hindu-Muslim relations and the ties between India and Pakistan. Expressing her thoughts on the book, one of the members said, ‘The last time I read the book I was alone and had no one to share with what I felt. Today, I feel the same but don’t know how to express.” While in discussion many people at the gathering shared their personal experiences and encounters with Hindu and Muslim, Indians and Pakistanis in India and overseas. They all shared the common idea of being well treated by the others and how they do not understand why the age-old tiff continues despite the changed times.
At every gathering the club, through books and different forms of literature, discuss moral and social issues to help change people’s perceptions.