Recently, I was reading the new fiction by Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, and I realized that she is really a great writer and worthy of the Booked award she received for her first fiction, God of small things, which I couldn’t understand and so ended up bitter for such award winners.
This book, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, is about the world of Hijras. We could find them begging with their signature clap and coarse, loud voice. They visit us on happy occasions and ask for money, sometimes threaten to get that. I am yet to find a single person who welcomes their arrival. However, none of us ever tries to get to know them.
I mean, who is a Hijra beyond that repulsive makeup, shiny clothes, and noise of those claps? What could possibly be the story, the journey of the Hijra you met on signal this morning?
I was the person whom I asked this and the answer came that behind all that is mutilated or ill-formed genitals. I took a deep breath and tried to be more human and my answer changed to “a person about whom I know nothing, a person who lives in the same world as mine, breathes the same air and yet sees the world in a completely different light.”
Thanks to Arundhati Roy for writing this story and my frivolousness around “pretty looking” books that I got a glimpse of the Hijra community.
But there are thousands of such stories around us that we never care to stop and explore. There are many stories that do not come in neat packaging, or if they do then they are too inaccessible. But that doesn’t mean that these stories aren’t worth your time.
I believe such stories are so rich, so dark and so vast that no amount of ink and paper would be able to do justice to them. And that’s why they’re around you walking upright with a spine of bones rather than some library shelf leaning on each other.
Breathing Books is an initiative to collect such living, breathing stories and introduce them to those who may never get a chance to find them in a traditional library. The event is taking place in Chandigarh this Sunday at Innov8.
If you’re in the city, register yourself here as a reader. If you’re not, try to make it. I’ll be well worth your time.
The following books are up for borrowing this time.
Fight to be yourself
A battle fought with oneself, family and the world to be accepted. She has been changing mindsets and encouraging people to be progressive. Read this book to understand the pain of faded scars that is filled with both Inspiration and endurance
A nosh of life
“Take everything with a pinch of salt,” the doctor advised. “Why ignore the rest of the flavours?” she asked, and thus her story began – stewed around her Epilepsy, an ordinary tale of dreams and disasters perked up by resilience and writing.
Emptiness weighs the most
She kept losing herself to each day for 6 years, it just went from bad to worse but she eventually won her life back. This book will take you through her journey of social stigma around depression and her path to have overcome it.
Beyond the valley of addiction
Sailing through the highs and lows of drug abuse and healing, this book narrates the journey of de-addiction and the kind of transformation that he brought to his life. You find a new life when you cross the valley but most importantly when you believe in yourself.
The desert storm rider
“Once you are on a motorcycle, it is about skin and bone, not gender. There is just you and the machine.” Join the ride as this human book will take you through her never-ending adventurous stories at the world’s highest rally raid on her Royal Enfield.
The Ultimate Surprise
Come read this book to get your mind blown. An artist and an athlete like never before. This ride will give you goosebumps.
Brew your tea with words
If you think a tea seller cannot write! Think again. He is the man of words. He sees, writes and sells tea. Come and enjoy the flavour.
Against all odds
When his own family didn’t support him, his nation didn’t have his back, who rescued him?What did he do after he was back on his feet? Did he take revenge? Come read this book to know unconventional ways to get even.
The Wanderer who collects stories
Everybody has a story to share. And every wants to be heard. Come read this book to learn how to connect at an individual level with people around you.
About Breathing Books: “Breathing Books” is a concept that enables you to interact with people who act as “living books” giving you a chance to walk through their real-life stories and conversations. It seeks to provide freedom from the shackles of stereotypes and prejudices by clearing the way for open dialogue and acceptance.
Borrow the book of your interest and gain insight about real life stories from the writers themselves.
“Come and read from the voices which are REAL”
Check out event details here and invite your friends.
Disclaimer: A Nosh of Life is the online media partner for this event as well as one of the books up for borrowing. However, we completely endorse this noble initiative.
I’m also taking my Alexa Rank further with Blogchatter through their #MyFriendAlexa campaign. This is my third post in that series.