Bengalis have a funny way of adding a word—a nonsensical one—after the actual word. One that rhymes, but doesn’t make sense.
Being an event that brings together books and food, the name Boi Toi Khabar Dabar made perfect sense. The need for such an event was born out a very personal sense of being over dependant on technology, being unable to have actual face-to-face conversations and simply losing the innate human ability, to get together for an ‘adda’. It also came from a need to explore how an ‘exchange’ would go.
The first edition of Boi Toi Khabar Dabar was held at Lake Terrace on Sunday, 5 November 2017. We had fifteen guests from all walks of life. Students, educators, corporate executives, members of city NGOs and a librarian.
The conversation was free wheeling. We talked about work, social work, interesting places to buy books, good reads and food. One of the interesting points of conversation was how difficult it was to actually give away books!
This lead me to think about how each book we buy has a story, in itself, behind it. The memories associated with it make it hard to part with. For instance, I have books which I bought with my first salary, books that kept me company in the first lonely days at University, books that I bought during long waits at railway stations. . . the list and the memories-endless.
The food at Boi Toi Khabar Dabar was all homemade using ingredients that were locally sourced (no supermarkets in malls, thank you very much) and made using, I shall confess, no recipe.
On the menu:
Pasta Salad with cheese, butter fried mushrooms, tomato and capsicum. Garlic infused olive oil as dressing.
Vanilla sponge cake. Good old cake, nothing fancy.
Tea. Milky, from the neighbourhood chai wala.
The adda continued till late evening. Each guest got booklets on Mangroves, bookmarks with short stories based on common trees seen in the city, postcards. . . all wrapped in lovely handmade envelopes. Most of us came away with books, exchanged with others. I have already started on one of my ‘new’ books—the first in the Artemis Fowl series. Something that I have wanted to read before, but never actually gotten around to reading.
‘ It was wonderful to meet so many people who are passionate about books as well as social causes’
‘Nice to meet people from different fields’
A part of Boi Toi Khabar Dabar is also to raise some money for an NGO that works with children—specifically to buy storybooks. The first edition of Boi Toi raised money for All Bengal Women’s Union (ABWU). Noyoni Chakravarti of ABWU was there with us. She gave us an idea of the activities that are carried out at ABWU . We are very pleased to be able to contribute something for the young people there.