Friday, September 30, 2016
In the dismal, rain-soaked week that passed by in Hyderabad there was only one ray of sunshine-it did not rain on Sunday. Though the skies were overcast all day giving the impression that it might rain at any moment not a drop fell from morning till night. I had thought that the Sunday at Abids would be a wash out since it had rained quite heavily on Saturday in the evening and continued into the night. Luckily for me the rains took a break last Sunday.
At Abids I found three more books in addition to the two books I had picked up at Chikkadpally. Last Sunday too I was alone on the hunt for books as my friends did not turn up.
Friday, September 23, 2016
One of the advantages of going to Abids in the morning on Sundays is that one can be among the first to rummage through the pile of fresh stocks of books on the pavements even before anyone has got the chance to do so. The chances of finding good titles are high in the mornings than at any other time of the day and this is one reason why I usually browse for books at Abids in the morning. Sometimes when it is not possible to go in the morning I make it a point to go in the afternoon. Due to an event at my son’s college which I had to attend last Sunday I couldn’t be at Abids in the morning. But I went in the afternoon because my Sundays are not complete without visiting Abids even if it is for an hour or so.
The previous Sunday I had missed picking up Bharati Mukherjee’s ‘Jasmine’ that I had seen at Chikkadpally and had decided that I would buy it this Sunday. But this Sunday I couldn’t locate it with the seller at Chikkadpally. However I saw other titles I now wish I had bought right away but did not. I will write about those titles that I missed buying if I find them next Sunday.
Friday, September 16, 2016
Last Friday’s post was supposed to have begun differently. I had thought of writing about the weather first before writing about what I had found at Abids. I had thought that the weather was changing. There was something about the sunlight that made me think that winter was around the corner. It looked like it wouldn’t rain anymore and that thought lifted my moods. A day later, on Saturday it poured like anything all day. It appeared like the rain would continue the next day too. But luckily it stopped raining early on Sunday morning. It was cloudy but it did not look like it would rain when I set out for Abids.
I was alone at Abids last Sunday without my friends and I decided to focus on the search for good titles. However luck eluded me and I couldn’t find anything worth buying for a long time. In the end I found a book that had a good cover, a good title, and was also about something I had grown interested in. I found a nice copy of ‘The Joy of Vegetarian Cooking’ by Jasleen Dhamija. It was a Penguin title and I did not even check what was inside before buying it. It was yet another welcome addition to my growing collection of cookbooks.
Friday, September 09, 2016
Yesterday, by a curious coincidence I was reading a book by David Pryce Jones on Graham Greene’s writing when the next chapter I came upon in Navtej Sarna’s ‘Second Thoughts,’ that I am dipping into occasionally, also happened to be on Graham Greene. One of the books I had bought at Abids last Sunday happened to be one by Graham Greene- ‘The Ministry of Fear’- which was also written about in David Pryce Jones’ book.
I had also found ‘The Heart of the Matter’ and also ‘The Lawless Roads’ after reading which I felt I had been a bit dumb not to have read Graham Greene much earlier. I am captivated by Graham Greene’s writing and now I try not to miss any of his titles whenever I come across them. So far I haven’t found ‘The Ministry of Fear’ so when I saw it at Abids I made a grab for it. I got it for just thirty rupees.
Friday, September 02, 2016
Anyway, last Sunday despite being not too well I went to Abids eager to meet my friends and browse to my heart’s content. I don’t know why but it seems the traffic cops had made the pavement booksellers to limit their displays so it meant that many of the booksellers had just a few books laid out. It was very disappointing but I guess since it was the Hyderabad Marathon the cops must have tried to make sure the runners don’t tread on the books!
I found only one book and it was a wonderful title. I found a collection of stories by Joyce Carol Oates titled ‘faithless: tales of transgression’ that had twenty one stories in three parts: Au Sable; Agly; Lover; Summer Sweat; Questions;Physical; Gunlove in Part One, Faithless; The Scarf; What Then, My Life?; Secret, Silent in Part TWO; A Manhattan Romance; Murder-Two; The Vigil; We Were Worried About You; The Stalker; The Vampire; Tusk; The High School Sweetheart: A Mystery; Death Watch; in *COPLAND* in Part THREE. For a book with twenty one stories it is quite bulky and appears like half a brick. I was glad to find this book but had to pay a hundred rupees for it. I am sure the book is worth more than what I paid for it.
Friday, August 26, 2016
After completing nine years of this blog I thought I deserved a short break. I got a break from unexpected quarters. The Government (my employer) itself gave me a break by sending me away from home for two long weeks. Naturally I couldn't go to Abids for the past two Sundays and hence no posts here. I came home only two days ago from that strenuous duty bringing with me fever, cold and a nagging cough. Right now I am recovering from it all and promise to post something next Friday. Until then let me rest :)
Friday, August 05, 2016
I’m a bit surprised that I’ve managed to keep this blog running for nine years. I am not known to be tenacious at anything that requires regular effort so last week when I noticed that I have completed nine years of blogging I felt pleased. While thinking of what could have made me keep this blog afloat for so long two things struck me as possible factors. One was that the time this job in the government that allowed me to write sometimes in the office. Sometimes I go through days with almost nothing to do and on such days I try to fill the time by reading and writing which is far better than chatting with colleagues. The second factor is that the fear of becoming just another boring bureaucrat must have made me keep on writing the blog so that I have something to show that I am something more than a mere file pusher. Anyway I am pleased that this blog has now crept into its tenth year. If I keep at it for another year it means that I’ve done it for almost half of my service in the government. It is thanks to all those who follow this blogo and also to those who aren’t followers but who read this blog regularly and leave comments occasionally.
One thing I regret is that I am not travelling as much as I wish to. I haven’t been anywhere exotic or even far off sine long other than that single trip to the Andamans that I made exactly ten years ago. It seems highly unlikely that I’ll make another such trip given that I am not longer young. I am fifty three now in case you didn’t know.
However what lessens the frustration of not having travelled much is the travel books I keep finding and read. Except for a couple of travel writers like Patrick Leigh Fermor I think I’ve found books by almost all the big names in travel literature like Wilfred Thesiger, Jan Morris, and Pico Iyer. I even have a copy of Moritz Thomsen’s ‘The Saddest Pleasure’ that I found a couple of years ago at Abids. The Sunday before last I had found a list of travel titles in a book I found at Abids and I realized that there are many travel writers and their books that I do not know about. It humbled me, honestly. Last Sunday I was pleasantly surprised to find another travel title by a writer I haven’t heard anywhere before. Since it was a Penguin title I literally pounced on it to grab it like before anyone could set their eyes on it.
The title I found was ‘West of Centre’ by Ray Ericksen and it was, as the blurb on the cover says ‘A Journey of Discovery into the Heartland of Australia’ and I have kept it aside as my next immediate read.
Friday, July 29, 2016
My weekly visits to Abids every Sunday have been yielding a regular haul of books. I bring home at least two good books from Abids every Sunday. This has resulted in overflowing bookshelves at home crammed with books. This year so far I have bought about 106 books, all of them (in my view) fantastic titles that I have brought with the intention of reading, obviously. Last Sunday was no different and I added five more titles to this figure.
Friday, July 22, 2016
Most of the titles I’ve picked up purely on a hunch at Abids have turned out to be those written by good writers I haven’t had the luck to know until then. In this manner I have found Ross MacDonald, Ross Thomas, Peter Blauner and other writers. I do not hesitate if I find a Penguin title by writers I haven’t heard about before since I know Penguin publishes only good writers. Last Sunday I came across a Penguin title that I bought right away.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
The second hand book sellers of Abids who were scattered and in disarray on all Sundays during the month of Ramzan that got just over were back to their usual places last Sunday. This was comforting because it meant that it improved my chances of finding some good titles that I usually find at some of the good sellers at Abids. Needless to say last Sunday I ended up finding three good books.