Gradually, I can see myself give up ordering books off Flipkart. I will blame this not entirely on their hideous bookmarks.
* * *
There was no way yesterday the rains wouldn't break. I was up early, jutting camera into the sky, taking photos with a 400 ISO (...keep feeling i'm doing something wrong here), responding to tireless double-beep phone notifications. I was up as can be. And that 05:00 sky was going to burst, whether then or by the time I went back to bed and checked three hours later. It was going to burst. Later in the morning, splatters were arrived but erratic.
|This, although, is Lodhi road, later in the evening, five minutes before the sky exploded. That's another story.|
I was driving on Mehrauli-Gurgaon road, speeding along to work. I needed feedback on one article that needed to be despatched asap. And I'd already texted be there in twenty. But, well, the sky was overcast, and I figured, if I don't stop today, I might never. Despatch can um, wait.
* * *
There is a bookshop near the Ghitorni metro station. It's a bookshed, really. Teensy place, with a cardboard sign that says all books Rs 25. But those are all the one kind of paperbacks, all Maeve Binchy and Nora Roberts. Inside is more eclectic. Old, dusty plastic-cover wrapped copies of LIFE, the solar system, how to improve your golf, chinese-hindi translations, Famous Five, lots of Ian Rankin, books on gardening, books on woordwork, books on cooking, a book on that first woman to be a pilot, books on baseball stadiums, south africa, conditions in the arctic... that be there in twenty wasn't going to happen.
Immediately endearing to me was the bookshed guy. He was sitting, of course in the heat, cooler turned to him, but poring over a large floppy looking magazine style book that when I asked him the name of, and kya padh rahe ho, he said kuch nahin. I persisted. He showed me. He was learning English! How super, I thought. Sitting there, all by himself, his forefinger corresponding words from Hindi Column to English column. What initiative!
When he saw me sweating it out inside, sitting on my haunches, wiping my sweat with my scarf wthat would go on to have a more eventful day, he turned the cooler towards me. Totally ineffective, but how sweet. Then he's asking me if I want a book on Michael Jackson. Colour. Hardcover. Aooo, I say. Thanks but no thanks.
And so. In the days following that lovely Julian Barnes' piece, wealth amassed from a roadside book shed, all for Rs 1,000:
Not in the photo because they're lying on someone's desk in office, but there were three Superman comics as well.
I've left the whole pile in office, in the cubicle next to my cubicle. (I asked my boss if anyone else is being hired anytime soon, and if so, is the person going to sit next to me. And he said, no one is going to sit there, that place is the water cooler). And so, there is a sense of releif in my bones. It's like going to watch a movie and getting the seat in front to prop your feet up on. I get to always have the seat on my left free. Everyday. How cool is that. On the right is a dead end pillar, anway. It's a good feeling. This fortress of random works. Books and moneyplants in winebottles, with big white rocks whacked from former office compounds. Really, my desk is prime property. And those pages? You have to smell the dust and the mildew and the ancient type. You know what I'm talking about. It's an area in which online anythings can never compete.