The Strand Book Stall sale is supposed to be a good thing, right? It is a good thing. Teja for instance, buys his year’s quota of books from there. Books on art and design which we could never afford otherwise, available at incredible discounts.
As for me, the sight of so many books in one place just makes me feel a little giddy, a little queasy. I feel burdened down by all the things that people want to say, write, show, tell. By the unsold books that reappear year after year. By the acres of forests wailing there. I feel sad and bad, and don’t ever want to read a book again. Or write one.
I love books when they come unexpectedly, from the corner raddi-wala’s, from the top of a neighbor’s cupboard, from under the pillow of an old uncle, a few tantalizing pages that come with the, or the ones that seem perfectly fitted on a friend’s bookshelf.
I know that a lot of people moaned the end of an era when the British Council Library went online in Bumm-Bumm-Bhole-Land. But honestly, by the time I reached there every couple of months to change the family’s books, after a long 2 hour drive, the air-conditioning made me drowsy and the last thing I wanted to do was flip through books. I usually grabbed the first few titles that seemed appealing, and was all, “Can we go home now?”
Now I just queue up my books online, and I love the randomness with which they arrive.
And of course, I’ve just discovered the magic of Flipkart. You don’t even pay online, and the books come all packed up as if they were going to London, as my mother would say, and there’s enough of a discount to make you feel pleased about yourself, and it’s not thousands of books staring and glaring at you.
Well, as for the Strand book sale, I felt too tired to even take pictures.