Friday, May 26, 2017
Though it was forecast that the day would be very hot in the city I dutifully turned up at Abids last Sunday. It turned out to be one of the hottest days I had seen this summer with the sun blazing down as early as eleven in the morning. No one in his right mind goes out when it is so hot but I just couldn’t sit at home and think about all the titles I would miss spotting. In the end it turned out to be a good haul of three nice titles.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Last week again I was in Delhi. Unlike the earlier visit not more than ten days ago when I had gone there to attend a training course this time I was there to attend a meeting. Then again unlike the earlier trip that was five days last week’s trip was for only two days. On the five day trip I hauled in five books and on this two day trip I hauled in only one title and it was one that I had missed buying on the earlier trip.
On the earlier trip though I had been to the Oxford Book Store in Connaught Place where I love to hang out, I had returned without buying a wonderful title that I had spotted. It was ‘Naiyer Masud: Collected Stories’ edited and translated by Muhammad Umar Memon. The size of the book and also its price had deterred me from buying it though I had been keen to buy it. It was also something I regretted after returning to Hyderabad without it. I had wondered if I’d get a chance to buy this book. Even as I was contemplating ordering it online just a week after I had returned I was asked if I’d like to Delhi again. The question was popped on Sunday and I had to leave on Monday. I couldn’t say no because the meeting I was going there to attend was a national level meeting and promised to be something really good.
I had planned to return on the second day after the meeting ended. My flight was sometime after nine in the night and I had a few hours to kill before starting for the airport. I decided to go to CP and pick up the Naiyer Masud title I had seen at OBS. When I went to OBS I was relieved to see that the book was at the same spot where I had seen it on my earlier visit. It was nine hundred rupees but I did not mind the price.
‘Collected Stories’ has thirty five stories in five sections. In the first section titled ‘SEEMIYA (THE OCCULT) there are five stories: Obscure Domains of Fear and Desire, The Colour of Nothingness, Snake Catcher, Seemiya (The Occult) and Resting Place.
In the second section titled ‘ESSENCE OF CAMPHOR’ there are seven stories: Epistle, Janus, Sultan Muzaffar’s Chronicler of Events, Jarga, Interregnum, Essence of Camphor, and The Fifth Saasaan.
The third section- THE MYNA FROM PEACOCK GARDEN- has these stories: Ba’i’s Mourners, The Chief Accountant of the Pyramid, Nosh Daru, Lamentation, Remains of the Ray Family, Custody, Dead End, The Myna from Peacock Garden, Occult Museum, and Sheesha Ghat.
GANJEFA the fourth section has these stories: Ganjefa, The Big Garbage Dump, Weathervane, Allam and Son, The Successor, The Stone with Sacred Names, The Librarian, Destitutes Compound, Hounded, and Afflictions.
The last section titled MISCELLANEOUS has three stories: Dustland, The Aster, and Whirlwind. At the end of the book is an interview the translator, Muhammad Umar Memon had with the author, Naiyer Masud. It is a big book with six hundred and sixty two pages and bigger than an ordinary brick, more like one of those modern cement bricks.
Last December, at the Hyderabad Book Fair, I had found a copy of ‘Snakecatcher’ by Naiyer Masud and had got it for about hundred rupees. It had eleven stories and I was not surprised that all these stories are in ‘Collected Stories.’ Of course, the translator was Muhammad Umar Memon and the publisher too was Penguin. I’ve made a plan to read one story from this collection every day but I don’t know when I will put the plan into action. Until then I am just content looking at this wonderful book I had the good fortune to find.
Friday, May 19, 2017
There’s seems to be no end to my lucky streak finding good titles at Abids on Sunday mornings. Once again last Sunday I ended up with a good title in the haul. Though I found only good title it made me very glad coming across it unexpectedly. Actually, I found two titles and the second title was a cookbook which exactly doesn’t qualify as literature though it is no less entertaining. I found my third Adil Jussawalla title last Sunday at Abids. Coincidentally, I was going through the poems, one a day, in ‘Trying to Say Goodbye’ the collection I found very recently.
After spending sometime in the café drinking tea alone and leafing through ‘Dakshin Delights’ I continued on the next leg of the usual circuit of the pavements of Abids. In one corner I spotted a book with a cover in beautiful dark blue and took it out to check the title and got a pleasant shock. It was a copy of ‘Maps for a Mortal Moon’ by Adil Jussawalla. I have been reading him since I was a teenager trying to be a poet.
Friday, May 12, 2017
Since the beginning of this year I’ve been finding quite a number of books on my trips to Abids on Sundays. But the haul has been quite bountiful in the past week with the trip to Delhi yielding a haul of five titles and another four titles at Abids last Sunday. With this haul of four titles the total number of books that I’ve bought so far this year is now sixty four! However hard I am trying to cut down on my book buys I am unable to restrain myself. I don’t know what the total haul this year would be and I sincerely hope I don’t create any new records.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
For us in the Government, depending on where one is posted, in the districts or the capital and also depending on the department one is working in, sometime or the other one has to make a trip to the national Capital. Just a year back when in a different posting I used to go to Delhi at the drop of a hat. In the five and half years that I was in that posting I must have made at least thirty or more trips to Delhi. After I got out of that department I did not travel to Delhi for more than a year. My last trip to Delhi was in January last year. After more than a year I got the opportunity to travel to that national Capital. Unlike the short trips I made earlier this time I spent five days at Delhi. Last week I was in Delhi attending a training programme in an institute near ITO. On a couple of days I went looking for books in the evenings.
When the seller told me that I could pick any title for just fifty rupees I looked around the stack and managed to find four good titles.
Friday, April 28, 2017
For the world April 23 might be World Book Day but for me every Sunday is a Book Day. This year World Book Day fell on a Sunday when I make my weekly visit to the Sunday book bazaar at Abids which made it all the more reason to buy more books. Since the beginning of this year I’ve been consistently lucky in finding good titles at Abids almost every Sunday. The previous Sunday I had found ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ by Thomas Pynchon, a mammoth book with nearly nine hundred pages. Last Sunday too I found two good books that I got cheap.
So that was how the World Book Day was for me.
Friday, April 21, 2017
It was quite hot last Sunday. I knew it would be because that was the forecast I read in the morning news. If I knew any better I should have stayed home but I did not. Nothing can stop me from going to Abids on Sundays, not rain, not sun. Anyway on that hot Sunday I ended up with two cool finds.
Friday, April 14, 2017
Summer is truly here in Hyderabad. After a few weeks of high temperatures hovering around forty degrees now it has touched 40 degrees already. Last Sunday at Abids I wondered if I should go ahead and browse around the pavements of Abids in the hot sun. I decided the heat and discomfort of being out in the hot sun was better than the miserable feeling I get if I sit at home on Sunday instead of visiting Abids. So there I was patiently looking up and down the covers of hundreds of books displayed on the pavements. This patience was rewarded at last when I found two titles that I picked up before I headed home to escape the scorching sun.
Saturday, April 08, 2017
Last Sunday I was in Ooty on a short vacation with the family. It had been ages since we had been on a break so on the insistence of the family I agreed for a trip to Ooty. A week before I booked the entire vacation on MakeMyTrip which worked out a bit expensive but was worth it since we did not have any problems except one that I’ll mention later on. We flew to Coimbatore and from there motored up to Ooty. I had heard a lot about Mettupalayam since I was a child and finally I got to see the place, or rather, pass through it. Then it was an hour and half’s climb up the Nilgiri hills to Ooty via Coonoor. We stayed at a resort called Deccan Park Resort in Teetkul, away from the town. It was quiet and tranquil at the resort where we stayed for four days until Wednesday. During our stay we did the usual touristy things- sightseeing and shopping. We went to Doddabetta Peak, Botanical Gardens, Ooty lake, Pykara falls, again boating in the waters of the dam there, and on the way back we stopped at Coonoor where we went to Sim’s Park, Lamb’s Rock, and back to Coimbatore. The only problem we had was the cab driver who had a mind of his own. When I told him we’d have lunch at Mettupalayam he took us to Annnur. He was always late, never polite, and did not know the places well enough since he did not know how long it took to reach and how far the places were. If it weren’t for the driver we’d have had a better experience.
Friday, March 31, 2017
For more than twenty years I’ve been coming to Abids, week after week, drawn by the prospect of finding good titles in the heaps of books laid out on the pavements every Sunday. Very rarely have I returned disappointed at not finding anything good. Almost every Sunday I find something at least one title good enough to buy and bring home. Over the years I’ve bought thousands of books at the Abids book bazaar on Sundays. This is one place that never ceases to amaze me with kind of treasures it offers to the true book lover.
It’s been a pretty long wait for it, almost a decade, so imagine my joy when at last I spotted it last Sunday a few minutes after we’ve had tea in the café. It felt curiously wonderful holding the copy of ‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle’ in my hand, feeling as if I’ve dug out a diamond out of the earth. I had read “Outlaws” by George V. Higgins that I found to be riveting and wonderfully written. I had then set my heart on finding ‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle’ and at last my wish came true when I spotted it. The wonderful thing was that I did not have to pay much for it. The seller asked for just thirty rupees for it which was peanuts.