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South Asian Book Fair Organized by SAHELI Boston - A Resounding Success

Chitra Parayath

The South Asian Book Fair organized by SAHELI Boston and Wordsworth Books, held on March 9 at the Cambridge Public Library attracted a large crowd of book lovers. Books by almost all prominent Indian writers writing in English were available and more than one person I spoke to admitted being amazed at the exhaustive selection.

There were books pertaining to all aspects of India, Cook books, Books on History, Art, Travel and on Indian Culture. Also on display were works of such popular writers as Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, Rohinton Mistry, Chitra Bannerji Divakaruni and Arundhati Roy.

Dr. Manisha Roy, author, Social Anthropologist and Jungian analyst was present, autographing her books and talking to visitors. Her books 'Bengali Women,' 'Cast The First Stone,' 'Reckoning Heart' and her memoir in Bengali 'Amar Char Baari' were generating a lot of interest.

Mital Shah presented her new visually arresting book 'Behind the mask' on Thai dance, attracting folks to her table decorated with colorful Thai dance masks. People stopped to chat and talk, drawn by her easy charm and openness.

I caught up with a couple of book enthusiasts at the door. Dr. Nora Janeway stumped me with her flawless Bengali greeting. She laughed when I asked her about her interest in Indian culture and Bengali in particular. "My son is Bengali" she said pointing to the cheerful squirming bundle in her arms. "And I have always been fascinated by all things Asian. I am an internist in Cambridge and many of my patients are Bengali women who don't speak English. This interest also lead me to learn Kathak!" She opened her bag to show me a Bengali book by Dr. Manisha Roy and works of fiction.

Another visitor Rita Vaidya said that she was glad there were so many books to choose from. "I am gravitating towards the cook books," she confided. I love cooking. She was seen perusing a book on Mahatma Gandhi.

A portion of the proceed from the sales will go towards SAHELI's efforts in providing support and resources to South Asian women in the Boston area.

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