Binding book lovers

At Himanshu Singh's book club, Rise of the Bibliophiles, people exchange books and also take part in activities such as spot writing.

The notion that bookworms are asocial beings who always have their faces buried inside pages of fantasy cannot be more inaccurate. For in Hyderabad, the reading community is bustling with activity, a large contributor of it being the club called The Rise of Bibliopiles.

Participants during one of the sessions conducted by the book clubParticipants during one of the sessions conducted by the book club

Started by Himanshu Singh, the club may be just four months old, but already has a houseful of participants twice a month. Explaining what they do, Himanshu says, “We have a limit of 30 people in each session of the club while over a hundred people are in the group. We exchange books and set a goal for how long one should take to finish it. We also have a point system which decides who the bibliophile of the month is, based on which they get rewards. The sense of competition is what makes this club different from others.” Since the club now includes activities like on-the-spot writing, storytelling and other literary challenges, they are planning to rename it Rise of the Literati.

Himanshu’s relationship with books started when the relationship with his girlfriend ended. “It started in my first year of engineering and I had never even touched a novel before that. When I broke up with my girlfriend, I took to reading to keep her out of my mind, and ended up falling in love again, but with stories. I started with Harry Potter,” he says.

But this is not just a hobby for the 27-year-old book enthusiast. Himanshu quit his lucrative job as an analytics consultant to pursue his passion, and decided to make a living out of it. “I started an online magazine called Black Feathers, which now has around 2,000 contributors. It is a knowledge sharing platform where people can read or write stories, poems and post their photographs. I wanted to give my all to it and thus, quit my job,” he explains and adds, “But I was newly married and got no support from the family. Due to societal pressures, I took up a job again. When I started the club however, I quit, and didn’t tell my parents for a month and a half! Although my wife supported me, I had to tell people that I quit because the company was threatening to sack me, because they didn’t believe in my business model.”

Himanshu now makes money through the website’s ad sense; by selling products like books and stationery and by offering services like proofreading, ghost writing and book designing through his network. A major part of his income comes from the guest lectures he gives on analytics in a few colleges, including the Narsee Monjee Institute.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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