There are only two days in the entire year that I look forward to eagerly, like a thirsty man in search of water, like a person in search for an oasis, for life itself. Clearly it’s not by birthday, or even Christmas or Easter, officially designated as ‘eat-till-you-roll’ kind of days. The two days I look forward to are World Book Fair and Delhi Book Fair, both held at Pragati Maidan.
As a kid, I’d always heard about the famed Kolkata Book Fair but was never able to visit it. Maybe my parents feared I’d end up asking for the moon. No, scratch that. Maybe they feared me throwing a tantrum in public, screaming for the moon. Childhood was all about borrowing from friends or from libraries. It was only when I tasted independence during college that I started to buy books, because I could.
And so, when I came back to Delhi after four years in Pune, I landed up at the Delhi Book Fair with my friends. And I haven’t stopped ever since. The joy of visiting a book fair is incomprehensible. My excitement levels go through the roof. I ensure I withdraw a decent amount of money from the bank in advance, and manage to beg for a little more from dad (cherry on top).
Going to the book fair is not an easy task, especially if it’s at Pragati Maidan. It’s a sprawling campus and a day here, fighting the crowd, arms ladled with bags, and sheer exhaustion and thirst, one needs a breakfast of champions to get through the day.
But this day has been such a blessing. I’ve managed to pick up old books, second hand books and even new books of various genres. From replenishing my section on holy books to stumbling over authors of repute, the day is filled with surprises and possibilities.
My most recent expedition was just last Sunday, when I headed again to the hallowed halls of Pragati Maidan for the Delhi Book Fair. And what a loot I came back with? Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, a book by Hunter S. Thompson, a book on the concubine that changed China, finally my own copy of The Shining, a book by Ben Okri, stumbled upon The Thirteenth Tale, that VS Naipaul book I always had my eyes on, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, another Orhan Pamuk for less than Rs 200, oh and so much more. There is a satisfaction of a divine kind that I feel when racing through the titles on display, avoiding the innumerable Jeffrey Archers and John Grishams, the multitude of Cecilia Ahern and yes, Mills and Boon.
And when I come back home, tired with sore palms and screaming arms, and I discover that the books I just picked up on a whim are really by celebrated authors and on many must-read lists, my heart fills with pride and my eyes go watery. There can be happiness on earth.
I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter.
Currently, I have a dismal India rank of 5,715,655 and I intend to see this decrease. Over the course of this month, I shall be blogging at least twice a week and my special hashtag for this endeavour is #BetweenPages, for both my theme, related to books and reading, and for sharing the blog posts of my compadres.