In the summer afternoon of 28th April, The Booknerds hosted legendary travel writer Bill Aitken at Dehradun’s oldest bookstore The English Book Depot.
Bill Aitken who was born in Scotland shifted to India in 1959 with the aim of travelling across the country. He has written a number of books like Seven Sacred Rivers, The Nanda Devi Affair, Mountain Delight and many more accounting his observations. The event also featured travel blogger Surbhi Sabharwal as the lead moderator who is a weekend traveller inspiring people with jobs to travel more.
Rohan Raj, the co-founder, The Booknerds, kickstarted the event with a round of introductions of the attendees which included a host of future writers, readers and travel enthusiasts. Devika, from The Booknerds Team, talked about The Booknerds story, the most prolific literary community of India. Followed by which an activity was planned that included the audience to share their travel stories by writing a short journal.
The conversation started with Bill Aitken talking about his younger days in Calcutta and his love for the city. He also talked about his obsession with Nanda Devi. He shared with the audience his travel stories, riding a bike through difficult terrains and growing old in Mussoorie. Surbhi shared her experiences as a solo woman traveller in India, her bike trip to Ladakh and the scenario of travel writing in the digital age. The audience was mesmerized with the accounts of both the panellist, who although belonging from different generations talked and bonded over travelling. The conversation moved to many interesting topics like spirituality and perspective of travelling and some dangerous encounters in the mountains. Bill Aiken also narrated his paranormal encounters especially a chance to meet up with a 'chudail'.
The event concluded with a book signing with Bill Aitken’s fans excited to get a picture with him. Signed copies of Mountain Delight by Bill Aitken are available at The English Book Depot for those who could not make it to the event.
Neha Raj, the co-founder of The Booknerds, handed mementoes to Bill Aitken and Surbhi Sabharwal, thus concluding the event on a high note. The Booknerds will be meeting next at Cafe Lychee Tree for the launch of Nupur Sandhu's book 'Numi'.