Yes!! I’ve wanted to be part of a Bookclub again after a fun experience in Singapore and have had to wait for 4 long years to be part of one. But Oh! the Joy of it! Well worth the wait 🙂
Last evening, I spent two hours in the company of a bunch of vibrant, intelligent women and enjoyed the lively discussion that inevitably followed 😉 We met at the Bru World Cafe Juhu where over green-tea and cappuccinos, we discussed Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. And although I had read this book two years ago, I was happy to find that I could take part in the discussion – it’s not the sort of book that is easily forgotten! We had a lively discussion on the pros and cons of Tiger-Parenting: how the West with its considerably more liberal attitude toward parenting than us Asians, was shocked by what they perceived as an abuse of children’s rights; while we Indian & Chinese Moms nodded sagely not perhaps in agreement, but certainly in recognition; how many of us Indian Moms are ‘Crouching Tigers ‘ and ‘Hidden Dragons’, although in my case make that ‘Overt Dragon’ (I’m sure Ishaan would agree :P); and of course the universal unalterable fact that parenting is the most difficult ‘task’ in the universe, coming as it does without standard manuals!
We all agreed that we want our children to have an ‘edge’ in today’s cut-throat world and were all concerned about where to set the limits – both for ourselves and our children. As Moms we ambitiously want ‘the best of everything’ for our children – even though as rational women, we are often surprisingly vague on what that might be! As for me, I’ve settled on wanting ‘Happiness’ for Ishaan – although I find that vague in itself 😛 “Whatever makes him Happy”, I’m wont to say as I struggle with issues of providing structure and striking a balance between pushing him too hard and allowing him to slide into laziness. We debated the rationale of ‘creating geniuses’ and whether China’s true secret to success wasn’t actually its ability to mass produce a well-trained and compliant workforce rather than create and nurture individual genius. Sacrificing the individual for the greater good seems to have worked remarkably well for that country so far! But for how long, we wondered. In contrast we felt the chaotic democracy that is India, seems content riding the backseat in most arenas on the world stage and although it’s hard to find people pushier than Indians in India, on the world-stage we seem to lose our cockiness and sang-froid! Two countries, both ancient civilizations, both burgeoning economies, both poised to take centre-stage in world affairs and yet China seemingly always in the fore-front and us Indians content to follow! Maybe we need more Tiger parents?! Debatable.
As you can see, a fascinating discussion that left me begging for more! We plan to meet once a month and I hope to post updates on this blog as we go along! We haven’t chosen our next book yet – this being our first meeting, we still need to get organized but I know it’s going to be great fun! Thank you Kamla for bringing together this incredible group of women! We owe you big time 🙂 I think a name for the Bookclub would be nice!
In another first for me, I finally downloaded my first e-book! Significant, because I’ve always been an advocate for ‘real’ versus ‘virtual’ books, but I thought it in bad taste to pass judgment without at least giving the virtual books a fighting chance 😉 As usual, whether in the ‘real’ or ‘virtual’ world, browsing books is a dangerous hobby as evidenced by the fair number of free samples I’ve downloaded and the hours spent wandering around Amazon.com as one find led to another 😛
The pros first! There are no two ways about this one – E-books are space savers! They are and always will be more convenient to carry and store, since you can carry hundreds of books on a single device if you should so choose. Love the free samples that I can peruse sitting at home, on my time, while deciding whether or not to buy. Also love the dictionary function and the highlighting and notes options – like your very own digital post-its! Most of all, LOVE the adjustable font-size – such a boon on my poor strained eyes! And yet quick and easy as these are, I’m never going to switch over completely to the virtual world of reading. Call me old-fashioned, but the smell of paper old and new, is addictive! Then the crisp crackle of new pages and the hushed rustle of dog-eared ones, and just the feel of a book in my hands elicit a familiar visceral reaction that is so far completely absent with the iPad! Also, I still find the iPad rather heavy (not comfortably heavy like my trusty LOTR ;)) and unwieldy; and the way the slightest tilt of the hand causes a change in page orientation can be disconcerting and irritating. I prefer a landscape orientation – it feels more akin to reading an actual book! And there’s the question of battery life for a voracious reader like me – I don’t think the iPad can keep up and the thought of having to stop reading coz of a dead battery is so alien as to be virtually unimaginable 😉
For now, I think I’m going to stick to downloading books in a series that I’m following (there are too many now to buy and store :P), and the Classics, coz most of them are free and not all are available in bookstores. So on to my first E-book, although as confessed earlier, I’ve had a field day or should I say night of sorts – downloading free samples 🙂 It’s Graham Greene’s Travels With My Aunt, recommended by my friend Aparna, an obsessive reader like me! I’m on Page 73 of 264 (I find my reading speed considerably slower on the iPad than it is with a ‘real’ book) and enjoying every word – but of course the review will follow once I’m done. While browsing, discovered Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being – and the little bit I’ve read so far makes me certain this will be my second download, just as soon as I decide whether I can cope with reading on the iPad on a regular basis!
So wish me luck and Happy Reading People 🙂