Back in 2008, Anuya Jakatdar, a journalism student at Syracuse University, New York, attended her first book sale fundraiser. She ended up buying 27 books for $8 (`500 approx), a real steal. Once she returned to Mumbai in 2009, she decided to replicate such events. And the first Books on Toast festival was held in 2012. Good titles, priced as cheap as `50, are up for grabs and proceeds from the sale are donated to a charity.
This year — in its fourth edition — Books on Toast will also hold open mic sessions, quiz competitions and workshops by authors. A book exchange party will be held at Doolally Taproom in Bandra on August 25. The proceeds from the sale at The Hive, Khar, will go to the Dharavi Art Project, an NGO that brings art into the lives of children from the slum. Jakatdar, who spent two months planning the event, says, “It’s a collaborative event where avid readers connect over books. We’ve had people queue up for hours to get their hands on the best buys.”
Sessions to watch out for:
Shakespeare for Dummies - August 22 (4.30pm to 6.30pm)
Karishma Attari, founder of The Super Readers Club (who will be turning author come October), is set to host her popular Shakespeare for Dummies workshop at the festival. Over a two-hour workshop, Attari will demystify the Bard and talk about how his writing is still relevant. “Shakespeare’s novels are potboilers and he was an absolute crowd-pleaser. Contrary to the belief that his language is hard to decipher, words in our vocabulary like ‘elbow’, ‘accident’, ‘bump’ and ‘advertising’ were all invented by him.”
Attari was initially intimidated by Shakespeare, but while studying for a Masters in Literature, she read his works and was blown away by the language. In the workshop, she juxtaposes Shakespeare’s lines with hip-hop lyrics to show how his works were a form of protest as well. There will also be a section on colourful insults found in his texts, such as “Thou art as fat as butter”.
A workshop on writing and getting published - August 23 (6.30pm to 7.30pm)
Author and journalist Meghna Pant wrote her first manuscript in 2005, which was rejected by every publisher she approached. She didn’t lose hope and, seven years later, she approached them again with a second manuscript, which was published as One & A Half Wife.
“Many people have the talent but they lack the discipline or knowledge on how to get published. The process can be intimidating,” says Pant. The first step, she says, is to “write the story in the best possible way” and approach publishers or get an agent to place the book with the publisher. “Even if people reject your story, edit it again and work on something else. It is a patience game,” she says.
Story of Ahalya by The Katha Project - August 23 (2.20pm to 3.30pm)
Are you interested in mythological tales and folklore? Attend this workshop by Utkarsh Patel, faculty of comparative mythology at the University of Mumbai, who talks about Ahalya (also the subject of Sujoy Ghosh’s latest short film by the same name). The story goes that Ahalya, the wife of sage Gautama, was seduced by Indra and was consequently cursed by her husband and turned into stone. When Lord Rama’s feet touched the stone, she transformed into her original form once again. “We explore whether Ahalya was a victim or if Indra was to blame,” says Amit Govind, founder, The Katha Project.
A session by The Katha Project at MCubed Library
Books on Toast will be held on August 22 and 23, 12pm onward; the book exchange will be held on August 25, 7pm onward
Where: The Hive, Chuim Village Road, Khar (W)
(The writer tweets as @SomaRKDas )