Spice of life: Mom’s book club forges friendships for lifetime - Hindustan Times
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Spice of life: Mom’s book club forges friendships for lifetime

BySeema BediSeema Bedi
Apr 01, 2024 06:10 AM IST

Reading broadens your perspective as everyone has his/her interpretation of the same plot and characters and hence you get to think about a book in different ways

My parents bonded well over their shared love for books. Both of them retired from their respective jobs, my mom as a principal and dad as a university professor more than 30 years ago. At this juncture, they shifted residence from the university campus, which had been our home for decades, to their own newly built residence in a posh locality in Ludhiana. We were all happy at this move, but it was in a way culture shock, moving from an intellectual environment to an affluent but not intellectually inclined neighbourhood. Most senior ladies in the neighbourhood were not as well educated as my mother and their conversations were confined to problems of domestic helps and grocery prices, which did not interest her.

After a few months, at a neighbourhood social event, mom came in contact with two like-minded ladies, both, like her, were retired academicians, who too felt stifled because of the lack of intellectually stimulating conversation with other women in the neighbourhood. (HT File)
After a few months, at a neighbourhood social event, mom came in contact with two like-minded ladies, both, like her, were retired academicians, who too felt stifled because of the lack of intellectually stimulating conversation with other women in the neighbourhood. (HT File)

After a few months, at a neighbourhood social event, mom came in contact with two like-minded ladies, both, like her, were retired academicians, who too felt stifled because of the lack of intellectually stimulating conversation with other women in the neighbourhood. The three felt an instant connect and soon started meeting each other over tea. Their favourite quip was, since none of them had a daughter-in-law, so there was no common topic of conversation! Therefore, they would discuss some article from a newspaper or magazine, or a social or political issue. In order to have more meaningful discussions, they would call each other beforehand to decide the topic to be discussed on a particular day. Soon, they started discussing thoughts and opinions on the books they had read and would recommend and share books among themselves. This led to more diverse reading and stepping out of their favourite genre.

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Mom and dad would also have a conversation at least once in a day about the respective books that they were reading at that time. Often, they would ‘time-share’ a book, that is, one person would read in the morning, and the other would read the same portions in the afternoon and they would discuss their thoughts on it over evening tea.

Why did they discuss books? Because they felt it broadens your perspective as everyone has his/her interpretation of the same plot and characters and hence you get to think about a book in different ways.

Mom’s book club thrived for several years. Then, these meetings came to an end because of the Covid pandemic, which unfortunately snatched away one member from the group. Another member succumbed to old age, my dad too left us last year. My nonagenarian mom is battling poor eyesight and says she finds it difficult to hold a book for a long time. Because of her hearing problem, even audio books do not work for her sbedipau@yahoo.com

The writer is a professor at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana

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