Book Fair – Does that excite you?
Well, when I first saw the title above, pasted on top of a bus stop, I screamed inwardly in exhilaration, and immediately fixed a date with myself and the books on the stated date. You will agree with me that for a book lover a mere sight of a stack of books can be a trigger for adrenaline rush. A book fair, thus, is a deluge of excitement. Though in today’s world where everything is available online, and where Kindles are gradually replacing books, I was not sure how many people would really turn up. That was none of my concern, I realised, and I set off for the fair, refusing to be held back by the recent surge in winters here. The very idea of books – shining, colourful books – in all the shapes and sizes, from all the publishers you can think of, was too much of a motivation for me to stay indoors.
The best feeling that I get when I visit such places is that I am not alone. There are thousands of people who would rather read than spend time doing anything else. They feel like a part of my family – the reading community. Their smiles appear familiar, the sheen of their eyes seems understandable, and natural. People of all ages checking out stalls, rummaging shelves, and reading the back-covers of the books feel like my own world.
The halls were huge, and stalls were many,
Still many were the shelves,
Just pick and choose any!
But where to start? How to start?
I just followed the most instinctive approach and slipped inside the very first hall and the stall I could see. It turned out to be devoted to medicine, and I gave a quick uncomfortable look at the pictures on the books, all organs, tools, bodies etc. and left in a hurry fearing that someone might ask me a question or two about the subject. Right ahead, there were all big publishers, and many small ones too. People had flocked the big ones as if books were being distributed for free there. I soon realised that checking books, shelf by shelf, was not going to help. There were millions of them. Discounts weren’t good either, so I glimpsed at them randomly and bought a few, and took pictures of the rest – to buy online later on, with hefty discounts.
All in all, I loved the ambience, the presence of books all around, and found some really helpful books there. Some I bought, some I will. But it reminded me of the days when my father would take us to book fairs. It was enjoyable then, and it was pleasurable this time too.