The meet-up will be divided into three parts, you can choose to come for one, two or all three parts.
1. The book club – The prophet from 2:45 pm to 5:30 pm.
2. The Party - Mulled wine and mince pies 5:30 to 7:45 pm.
3. Christmas dinner – at the Bollywood Brassiere - from 8:00 pm to 11:00pm.
The book club
Since December is a time for Introspection when you ponder about what you have accomplished during the year. Where you are coming from and where you are going. The chosen book for Meetup is a Classic. - The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. It is 120 pages of beautifully writen prose/poetry which explores every aspect of human life from Birth to Death. This should provide plenty of fodder for discussion.
This is the serious part of the evening. Please bring come in a reflective mood and be prepared to bare your soul.
This meet-up will be at Vineet's flat near Pontoon Dock DLR station. If you need directions please send me a message.
The Party Starts at 5:30 pm, it is also at Vineet's flat You can come anytime between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm. It is a mulled wine and mince pies party. Mulled wine will be provided. If you want to drink something else then bring it along. You are encouraged to bring non-alcoholic drinks. If you can’t decide what to bring, here is a guide
During the evening we will also have a Secret Santa. Bring a book, gift wrapped for Christmas. If you think any specific person or person(s) would particularly like that book, write their name or name(s) on the gift, otherwise write “For anyone and everyone”.
The dress code for the evening is Red. Wear something red.
The Christmas Dinner
The Christmas Dinner is at the
Located near the Excel Centre a 10 minute walk from my flat. We will leave my flat at 7:45 to be at the Restaurant at 8:00pm.
If you would like to come directly to the restaurant the nearest DLR stop is Custom House and the place in front of the Excel Centre, just come down the stairs.
The dinner is a Punjabi Buffet at a cost £20 per head. The owner of the place assured me that it is the best Indian meal in London.
We will have a private area reserved for us, with a separate buffet.
During dinner we may have some games and Apes dinner we will have our annual awards ceremony.
The dinner will finish at 11:30 to allow people to catch the last trains to where ever they want to go.
The prophet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophet), Almustafa, has lived in the foreign city of Orphalese for 12 years and is about to board a ship which will carry him home. He is stopped by a group of people, with whom he discusses topics such as life and the human condition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_condition). The book is divided into chapters dealing with love, marriage, children, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and death.
Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet: Why is it so loved?
I have loved many books over the years, but the one I would never be parted from and read again and again is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. I first read it in the 1960s and the sheer beauty of Gibran's writing on how to live your life blew me away. His philosophy is presented almost like a poetic Sermon on the Mount, by the prophet Almustafa who returns to fictional Orphalese, the place of his birth.
He speaks to the people of love, marriage, work, children, of buying and selling, death and other everyday subjects. I have heard the passage on marriage read at several weddings, and I find it profound and an incredibly moving piece. But then this is a little book you can dip in and out of, and almost any page has the same effect.
The passage on Children is one of my favourites. "Your children are not your children./ They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself./ They come through you, but not from you./ And though they are with you yet they belong not to you./ You may give them your love, but not your thoughts./ For they have their own thoughts/ You may house their bodies but not their souls./ For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams./ You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you./ For life goes not backwards nor tarries with yesterday./ You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth."
Each time I open the book I find myself feeling that if the whole world was to read it, it would be a far better place. It is not a religious book, but it is spiritual, and Gibran was clearly a man who embraced the best of Christianity, Judaism and Moslem teachings. His poetic prose is exquisite. It massages your soul and leaves you wishing you too could express yourself in such a profound and beautiful way.
First published in 1923, it has been translated in over 50 languages and has never been out of print, arguably one of the bestselling books of all time. It is somewhat preposterous to me that it has largely been treated with disdain by professors. Perhaps they feel threatened by its sheer readability and the simple truths within its pages. Personally I would recommend it to be on every reading list, and I have given many copies as presents because I know it will delight and sooth. To me it is simply a masterpiece.
Lesley Pearse's latest novel is 'The Promise' (Penguin)