Palampur had a welcome surprise for me this time around. It welcomed with its very own official and freshly minted book club! The book club meets every third Saturday of the month at the local Coffee Day at 11:00 am. The ladies choose a book each month and their greatest triumph has been the ability to source the books they require from Flipkart, which otherwise does not deliver to our little hill town. The group is an eclectic mix of women from different professions and backgrounds. There are those who are extremely eloquent and sorted in their views and in their understanding of the tomes they read and there are those who simply read for the joy of reading a story.
August was poetry month and everyone brought poems that resonated with them at some level. The poems were a mixture of both English and Hindi. The choices ranged from poems on angst, pain, philosophy, humour, patriotism, depression and (my favourite) romance.
The best recitation for me was the poem entitled ‘Chand’, a romantic poem by Pakistani poetess Parveen Shakir, in which the poetess compares her love to the moon. I think listening to the poem from someone who was so passionate about poetry and romance and the love of life was the cherry on top of a very decadent cake. There were a few witty and surprisingly thought-provoking poems by Spike Mulligan. I liked the one entitled ‘Me’. Then their were a couple of poems by Sylvia Plath entitled ‘Morning Song’ and ‘Mushrooms’.
Yours truly chose a poem which is not very deep or philosophical, but one that I read when I was about ten and that I never forgot, through all the bits of war poems and Robert Frost, William Wordsworth and Tennyson that followed. Its entitled ‘A white rose’ by John Boyle O’Reilley and I first came across it in a story in Reader’s Digest. A man proposed to his wife with a ring inscribed with the last few lines of the poem and I guess blew her off her feet. I have secretly hoped one day someone would do that for me since then and still do. Oh, how the romantics spoil the expectations of little impressionable young girls.
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.
But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.
The book next month is ‘Cuckold’ by Kiran Nagarkar. The premise of the story seems highly promising; alas I won’t be here for the book discussion.
All the best to the Palampur Book Club! May they have many lovely discussions over a cup of coffee in the months and years to come.