Good as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one.
- Augustine Birrell
If soul and body are indeed different as many would have us believe and, if soul indeed does exist, then it wouldn’t be too atrocious a claim to say that existence is meaningless without the essence that sustains and nourishes the physical being, the essence being the soul and the existence being the body. What better mirrors would there be to reflect the essence than books? Books are immortal and the ideas encased within them are more so. We, in our idiosyncratic excesses, might disown them by burning the libraries at Alexandria but they outlive their physical mutilation, as the beacon of new ideas. We turn to them at times of distress, to escape from the rot of our day-to-day existence, to understand our world a little better, to inhabit what we never would be able to inhabit during our lifetimes encaged by our geography and cultural conditioning.
A students residence without books would seem lifeless, thus thought a few of those who came to occupy the newly-built hostel rooms and that is the story of how our bookclub came to be, a small room, a few shelves, some pulp fiction, some romance and an assortment of classics. The seed had been sown and the rest was for the weather to do. It wasn’t “The Library of Babel” as conceived by Borges, housing an infinite collection of wisdom housed within its endless array of hexagonal rooms. It was a less ambitious enterprise echoing the sentiments of Augustine Birell: Good to inherit but better to collect.
We have come a long way from that; with the enthusiasm of the students community, the support and encouragement of wardens and the logistics of our administrators, book club is a full-fledged institution housing more than two thousand books belonging to various genres spanning scientific fiction, scientific non-fiction, humor, fantasy, mystery, comics, pulp-fiction, Pulitzers, Bookers, Nobel gallery, classics, history, philosophy and thought, biographies, travel books, motivational books and Indian panorama. It is an integral of our students residence, functioning on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM.
1. Lakshmi Sreekumar
2. Manan Gupta
3. Meenakshi P.
4. Pallavi Haldar
5. Shveta Jaishankar
6. Vybhav Yalasi