Women Writer’s Fest, Bangalore, India

Women Writer’s Fest, Bangalore, India
So here we were, Keerti and me at the Women Writer’s Fest being held at a crazy sounding name -- Gilly’s Fandom Redefined on 100 feet road, in Koramangala. Keerti had very smartly taken a print out of the way there off google and so we reached in good time, by just following the landmarks noted. Turn left at the toilet and I wondered which toilet! It was a very red toilet building being run by an NGO and so the map was correct. We turned right there and onwards past all the landmarks till we reached Titan Eyescape after which we had to turn right again and there in all its garish glory was Gilly’s Fandom on the left.

The interiors are meant to invite teeny boppers into a cavernous dark space with red bulbs lighting the glass floor. I thanked my lucky stars I was wearing flats, but getting adjusted to the pitch black insides was something else.

Thankfully the dark lobby opened out into a brighter lit room, with chairs around a stage which was beginning to look a bit more normal. Sitting in the upper lounge we got to meet our other panelists and discussed what we were going to say.

Essentially answer two basic questions: 1) Discuss my journey of starting my iBrowse book club, and how I ran iBrowse in the Catholic Club for seven years. 2) What did the book club do to help people who were lonely and also how it opened up the world of books for kids in college who had no culture of reading. The session was being moderated by Sowmya Rajaram a young journalist from the Bangalore Mirror. As expected since she does do interviews for a living the discussion was effortless and flowed so well.

The other panelists were Jayapriya Vasudevan who runs Jacaranda press, Monika Manchanda who runs a food focussed book club, Milan Vohra who runs a small club for a select few and me who wanted to bring the joy of reading back, as I could .

We all filed onto the stage and took our places with Sowmya sort of sitting at an angle facing us. The whole lighting and presentation was so slick I was amazed, as the women behind the entire programme were definitely in their twenties. The backing for the entire show was a TV show that they run so there were TV cameras focussed on us through the discussion.

Oh no I thought, I would have no picture of my event and looked around at the women in the audience. No one looked familiar sadly, but I need not have worried as when I barely got off the stage, three women came up to speak to me. One was an old iBrowser, one my guest author for my next event and one an author of poems who wanted me to feature her in the club. Two photos came into my whatsapp from the student and the author, one of which graces this article.

We all shared what our book clubs were about and I was so glad by the end of it that my decision to move away from iBrowse and start up Book Bound, in Nossa Goa, was the right decision. The member in charge in the club, wanted iBrowse to be a money spinner, while what my aspiration for iBrowse was to bring back, the need to read and push us into reading more.

Since our objectives were diametrically opposite, I moved out gracefully and left iBrowse as a legacy to the Catholic Club. Book Bound was floated and in no time I was able to bring back the joy of reading and listening to an author introduce their work to an audience back again, this time in Nossa Goa.

At the end of our discussion, we left the stage happy to have made new book club friends and also were gifted a bag each of wonderful books and goodies. Books have also been the reason for me to have become friends with Keerti Ramachandra. A wonderful store- house of knowledge who knows six languages fluently and with whom the bond is books.

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