I wouldn’t be doing this if I’d been asked by anybody but Sheetal. But she being the Baba she is, has gone ahead and asked, and so I essay….
How many books…..
I did not cotton on till very very late in the day, that, books could actually be bought. God knows if it is the younger child syndrome or lack of initiative or plain kanjoosi, but for the longest time I only read what was available, borrowable or shamelessly flicked.
I still feel uncomfortable buying a book that retains the perfume of printer’s ink. Books in the news-current books- tempt me least. I love most pavement bargains of moth eaten books, previously owned by Prof. S Chakravarthy or his ilk, 1961 etc. which I can pick up for a steal by what I fancy is a expertly practiced air of nonchalant indifference. God I fear it must be undiluted kunjoosi. As for as the actual count, since nobody is really clear about the rules- approx the same as Sheetal’s.
Last books I bought…
This was one desperate afternoon in Bhopal. I was way way through the measly collection I had with me. I had asked re-asked and bored a dozen people on the lack of circulating libraries in Bhopal. Been keenly disappointed by the one big bookstore that only housed best-sellers. Had followed torturous instructions by a I- now-believe-to-be a devious colleague to a public library which was so seedy looking that it looked like a public somethingelse. Library holiday and I beat a hasty retreat. Which is why I found myself on the aforementioned afternoon in old city, determined to scavenge through second-hand shops.
Amid about a zillion engineering entrance tutorial books I found them. The shopkeeper was thrilled to get them off his hands. Françoise Sagan’s Incidental music, a book actually called “god realisation” (as if!), a book of recorded conversations between David Bohm and J krishnamurthy called the Future of humanity, a MB about a Italian millionaire I think or possibly Greek, a book on kundalini yoga. The MB cost me Rs. 80 (twas new and I desperate) the rest I got for a collective Rs 150/-
Lately I have been reading poetry, I mean sitting and reading poem after poem. So I guess an anthology of sorts and a revisiting of V.Seth’s All you who sleep tonight were last books handled. Prose text etc boletho I think it was that misguided attempt to ‘argue’ (how these types love that word) some obscure point about Nietzsche’s political ideology and a book on British classism called Mind the Gap.
I am reading that god realisation wala book now, at least I started it on the train and figured that god cannot be realised in hell (was travelling sleeper and was hot as Hades) and switched to an MB can’t remember which one, yes got it, the editor/writer deal. Been too hyper to read anything but the newspaper and Outlook for past couple of days.
Books that mean a lot to me
Many titles are the same as the one named by the people I grew up with so I’ll just list
The Swiss Family Robinson (pocket edition)- This was so perfect and spawned my pre-sleep fantasies for so many years that did not read the original when I had a chance to.
The Blytons – special bond with The secret of the Spiggy holes. For Zehera Jaffery and I no hole was ever the same again. It simply ‘thrilled’ our lifes.
The Grand Sophy – I knew it would be my first Heyer, it was. It was like being allowed my first glass of champagne- a rite of passage.
There was a book of letters and correspondences by Aldous Huxley, which I sat down to read on a corner stool at the CIEFL library. I was not allowed to borrow it, I can’t remember the title exactly, I did not read much of it, I never found it again- there is no other book I can think of that I would like to own more.
My copy of the Message of the Upanishads- very simply I love it. Paradoxically it anchors me, anytime every time.