The second part deals with how the book club came to come about and how the the protagonists take the book club to another level.
The living room was painted in semi-darkness. A. R. Rahman was singing on the radio, in the background. We were sitting on the mattress with our palms wrapped around our cup of ginger tea. The Thai curry and rice only left enough room for the ginger tea, in our stomachs. During the many brunches or lunches that we have had together, Anjali showed off her praiseworthy cooking skills. She hated having anyone around her while she cooked. So I would just sit and watch her prepare the food. Anjali used to work in a restaurant before she became a mother. She wanted to give her entire attention to her daughter. She was doing extremely well in her job but she chose to give it up for her daughter.
Do you miss working at the restaurant?
Umm, I don’t know. There are times when I do. I mean I’ve worked there for so many years. That place has given me much more than I had asked for. But I don’t regret leaving. My daughter is much bigger than my job. I would’ve missed so much if I hadn’t made the decision. I wouldn’t have been able to do what she did. I found it hard to understand why she left something she absolutely loved. Maybe, if I did have a child, I would’ve understood.
So, what did you think about The Second Time Around?
It’s a good read. In fact, it reminded me of that Catherine Zeta Jones movie.
Which one is that, now?
The one in which she falls in love with a man who is much younger than she is. The male nanny who takes care of her son. Remember?
Oh, oh! I know which one you’re talking about but I cannot remember the name of the movie.
Ah, yes! That one.
We looked at each other at the same moment and smiled. Suddenly, I sat up straight on my seat, wearing a serious expression on my face. Anjali looked a little worried when she saw me.
There’s something I’ve been thinking about and I’ve been meaning to tell you.
Yeah, tell me.
These discussions that we have every week with each other, on the books we assign ourselves to read,
We could start a book club.
I’m liking the sound of that.
We could ask our friends who love reading, to become members. We could assign a book to read for the week and meet on a particular day to review these books.
Okay, I’m already excited!
We remained silent for a few minutes, both our eyes fixed on each other. We were relishing this moment, in all its intensity. After a few minutes, Anjali spoke.
We should ask our homemakers, more specifically. The book club would be a good way to keep us busy.
Where will we have these discussions?
Either in my house or yours.
Perfect! Which day?
A weekday…how about Wednesdays?
Perfect! If the book club remains successful, we can alternate between the houses of the other members, as well!
Yeah! Should we have like a potluck or something?
No, no. Let’s focus on what our club stands for and not give all our attention to the food. That’s secondary.
I know. But the food also holds some importance, right?
It does. Wherever we have our meeting, that member will handle the food.
We could sense the excitement in our voices. We were, very much. Our excitement was beyond comprehension. In the next couple of weeks, Anjali and I would have informed a number of our friends who we knew loved reading, about the book club. I remember those initial few weeks. There were only around four or five people including us, who turned up for our discussions, among the countless who said that they were interested and wanted to come. It wasn’t disheartening for us to see the small number of people who had shown up because deep down we knew that the few who did show up, really wanted to be there. An amalgamation of people who were passionate about literature conjured up our profound discussions, making the book club engaging. The numbers had begun to increase as the weeks passed by. We discussed everything from Jane Eyre to Lolita to Agatha Christie. We would take a vote regarding the book everyone wanted to read for the week. It was in every which way a very democratic set up. In all of this, I would forget about the problems which were clinging onto my marriage.
The Book club was my happy place and nobody, not even my marriage entered this happy place.
This was how it all started. As I alternated between my wine and cigarette, I walked down memory lane, reminiscing those early months of our book club. We grew closer because of the book club. We didn’t always agree with each other but our disagreements didn’t stop us from building bridges in our relationship, as a group. Slowly and gradually, it wasn’t just about the book club. We shared our individual stories with each other. We got to know our struggles, our dreams and aspirations. These women in a way gave me the strength and support that I needed. Once again, we were sitting in Anjali’s house, on the mattress in her living room. And once again, an idea came to me while we were at her house.
Anjali, why don’t we create a blog for our book club?
And what would we write about?
We’d write about the books we chose for our discussions.
Anjali smiled. It is a brilliant idea!
About a month after we spoke about creating a blog, we created one. The blog was called The Homemaker’s Book Club. Many women who read our blog posts regularly, emailed us to ask us if they could join the book club. Our discussions extended from our usual weekly meetings to discussions in the ‘comments’ section of our blog posts. Eventually, as the months passed by, our followers increased. During the course of all these happenings, my marriage had crawled to the bottom. Ziaan and I decided to separate. We went for counseling and we tried to sort out our differences just between the two of us. But nothing was working. We thought that maybe this separation might help us in some way, to figure things out.