I had a fascinating time last Sunday as I attended the book launch of two books with three amazing authors: Train Friends and Dangling Gandhi at The Arts House. Train Friends is a collection of reflections of the personal journeys of its authors, Nandini Patwardhan and Ranjani Rao while Dangling Gandhi is a collection of fictional stories woven by Jayanthi Sankar.
When I first learnt about the books, I was intrigued, both by the names as well as the blurbs. I was intrigued by these two books as both sounded so similar by way of showcasing human emotions and struggles, by being so opposite in genre, one fiction while the other non-fiction. I was excited to know more and so when my editor shared the invite for the book launch, I had to go.
“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.”
With this stunning quote by Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dream, TVM editor Surabhi who happened to be the dynamic host for the evening, set the tone for the book launch.
The evening started with a keynote by the Guest of Honour Rohit Brijnath of Straits Times. It was an interesting talk where he shared his observations and experiences as a reader and its impact on writing. As most of the people in the room were readers, they thoroughly enjoyed the session as Rohit shared anecdotes from his life, especially when he reminisced about bookstalls that are found on all Indian Railway Stations.
The next talk was by the Chief Guest Angela Leong, the first reader of the book Dangling Gandhi. She spoke about how moved she was by the book, and how the stories that were based in Singapore were so relatable. She spoke highly about the story Pankhawala, that she read as she was attracted to the title. She spoke of the story with such tenderness and of the main character with such familiarity, it left little doubt in my mind as to the delight the readers would feel when they would read the book.
The evening then progressed with the official book launch, and then a panel discussion by the moderator Mariyam Haider. This led to an interesting conversation on how the authors view writing, their perspective on raising children in a foreign land, the idea of home when you move to another country and much more followed by a short read of their stories. I had a gala time listening to all these fantastic women sharing their life experiences so freely, it was truly an inspiring evening.
When the floor was opened for the audience, the questions ranged from what frightens them as authors and how they are able to manage to write when the ideas come at odd hours. And, as an additional bonus, we got a chance to learn more about Desi Modern Love- an anthology of true stories with contributions from authors from India, Singapore and the US.
I grabbed copies of all three books and came home with new #readinggoals. All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday, listening to readers and writers, sharing their love for the written word.