Just a reminder that the inaugural meeting of the CHAI Book Club will be held this weekend in Ellicott City. We will be discussing our 1st selection: ‘The Hindi Bindi Club‘. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to request the address, hope to see you there!
|My father fostered my love of books when I was growing up. Like Kiran’s father, mine did not have a privileged childhood in Mumbai but studied extremely hard from an early age, eventually earning a full scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania.
My father always told me that when he was growing up, certain foods and all books were considered luxuries, and he always wanted to me have them, would never deny me those two things. This was his definition of “living the dream.” His dream that he wanted to gift me. So throughout my life, I have been indulged to my heart’s content with food and books. My blessings, that my dad gave me, are what I want most to pass along to others…
In my research for The Hindi-Bindi Club, I came across an on-line newspaper article about Aseema (www.aseema.org), a non-government education center for street children in Mumbai. They were seeking children’s book donations to build a library. I emailed them. Over the Internet, I was able to buy and ship children’s books to the other side of the world. For the first time, these children had access to interesting and beautifully illustrated books. Thus began a beautiful friendship with this remarkable organization. Their focus: education and nutrition.
Now, in addition to Aseema, I’m adopting a second charity, a fabulous organization called Room to Read (www.roomtoread.org) in San Francisco. They partner with local communities in the developing world to establish schools and libraries. It costs US $2,000 to create a children’s library in an existing school, US $8,000 to construct a stand-alone library, and US $11,000-18,000 to build a school. I would like to fund all of these, and a portion of royalties from sales of The Hindi-Bindi Club will go toward this goal.
I would have loved to keep working on this novel for another year or ten, but two years after going to contract, my editor and agent pried the manuscript out of my hands. My mom wanted more recipes, but I kept reminding her (and myself!): This is a novel, not a cookbook. I did promise to make it up to her, and anyone else with a hankering for more Indian recipes, on my web site: http://www.hindi-bindi.com
I do hope you’ll visit. There is a kinship among readers. When we read the same book, we travel to the same world. Though I am here living my life, and you are there living yours, we now share a community. And though our experiences may differ, we know the same people: Kiran, Preity, Rani, Meenal, Saroj, and Uma. I would love to hear what you think about them. And if your book club plans to read The Hindi-Bindi Club, I would be honored to phone in and join your gathering via speakerphone. Please feel free to email me.
From my heart,