Pastlores - An Online Club

October 2020

In 2020, when the lockdown prevented me from going outside, I went inside for a while. Pastlores came across the scene as the brainchild.

Intriguingly, books and English literature have not been getting any importance in the Indian education system. In fact, there are no complimentary novels or books that are currently a part of the secondary and senior secondary curriculum of English (subject) at schools. Shoot, the inculcation of supplementary literature had already abstained from the syllabus when I entered my freshman year at high school in India. 

"Is the Indian education system so deprived that it has forgotten to include a piece of literary narration?" I would think to myself when I'd be on the verge of sending the authorities an email with the subject line: 'Reading Books should be a part of the English Syllabus.' But I would refrain from doing so, for I no longer would have the audacity to explain it to people who knew better than a fifteen-year-old about the importance of books. In one way or another, this whole thing came as a 'rejection to the literary world' to me.

 When my English teacher first announced that reading supplementary literature will no longer be a part of the curriculum, I felt helpless and sad. I had been looking forward to reading The Diary of a Young Girl and Three Men in a Boat in my class as a part of my syllabus in grade 9, but this announcement came across to me like a dot of black across the white canvas. My peers, who showed no interest in this announcement, and the teacher, who will be deprived of teaching this every year from then on, gave varied expressions. This bemused me, so I set a tryst to immerse myself in the spines of the books that a typical "American" high schooler might read. (The American High School Curriculum is the one that I have always admired, hence the term "American" high schooler.) What followed was a commotion of book parcels at my door that I would order each week. My reading list wouldn't only be restricted to the books that were a part of the west curriculum, but the contemporaries associated with the Postmodernist movement in American literature would also take my fancy. From reading Plath's The Bell Jar to Berger's The Ways of Seeing cover to cover, immersion in words became my favorite habit. Names like Italo Calvino, Vladimir Nabakov, Margaret Atwood, and Kurt Vonnegut became the center of dinner table conversations in my household, facilitated by me.

After all these years of reading passed in a glance, it occurred to me one day how a sense of belonging had been cultivated within the minds of the people who don't read - non-readers are restricted to think that they don't belong within the pages, but instead in the condescending state of mind where the process of reading intimidates them. That was when I decided that this is what I needed to change.

Born by humans and raised by books, I have always been intrigued by how people's surroundings have constantly shaped them. This realization made me restless and inspired me to start the club called 'Pastlores.'

Pastlores is a peer-focussed online club that is feasible to the readers and non-readers alike. This club is a community of people who want to introspect with their utmost ability. Pastlors will act as a window to a world where literature and reading matter and where voices will be heard.

With this spirit, I hope that books will continue revolutionizing the world, as they have always been doing.

Harsimran Kaur