Scenes and Impressions From the Delhi Book Fair 2017
As promised, Bookish Brat is here to talk about what happened behind the scenes and beyond the social media at the Delhi Book Fair 2017.
I feel the need to mention that this is not an article about the pros and cons for anything, this is not a listicle, this post is most likely not going to cater to any instant reading needs either. This is just a small indulgence in my bookish world. A small corner where I would like to indulge in simply sharing my impressions and reflections of the Delhi Book Fair 2017. This is just about a reader and her books.
With the disclaimer out of the way, let us continue on.
I have been going to the book fairs in Delhi for over half a decade now. Usually, I try to make it to both the Delhi Bookfair and the New Delhi World Book Fair every year. There is a huge difference between the two when it comes to the kind of stalls that are put up, the publishing houses that participate, and the displays. However, the one thing that remains common is the love for reading that runs through most visitors.
You can always find some people that are out and about, just visiting. But most are going from one stall to the other, from one hall to another just looking for reading inspiration or simply trying to put a dent in their list of books to buy. For the most part, I am one of them. Looking for that next book to peek at me with interest, a book that catches my eye, something that I have wanted to read for a long while, or a book that I read as a child but somehow lost touch with it over the years.
This time, however, it was not the same for me. I was sick and not up to the task of going through my usual book hunting rituals. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to get into the hustle mode of jumping into the bargain table crowd and dig out the best finds. I was, for the most part, successful as well. I got some really great finds at even greater price tags, but after a while I found myself slowing down, needing a break and to be honest, also a snack.
As I sat down in one corner of the reading/resting area that was set up for the convenience of the fair visitors, I began the very productive activity of people watching. And what I noticed was beautiful. Well at least in the eyes of the beholder ( in this case, me). The day had been a rainy one which had forced people to camp inside the halls of Pragati Maidan instead of sitting outside.
There was an aged man, sitting straight-backed on one of the few sofas, reading the complete collection of Prem Chand’s works. His absolute attention to his book caused him to not realize that his bag of purchases was gently leaning away from him, slightly rocking back and forth. There was another group of school students sitting sideways, on the right of the gentleman. A group of four, excitedly exchanging views about the comics and books that they had found. Hands moving animatedly, waving around newspapers and rolled up pamphlets, their faces not tarnished by any frown lines. On the sofa across from me sat a mother with her daughters, sharing food and trying to arrange their bags around them. Peeking at them once in a while to make sure the bags were still there. Everywhere I turned there was somebody conducting their own book fair tradition or ritual.
The longer I sat there, the more I observed and spun little stories to quench the curiosities I had about the people around me. It is usually while I am reading a book that my mind wanders to a curious little alley. I wonder why the author wrote what was written, why did the author use a particular word or image? This Delhi Book Fair gave me a chance to delve into the books that the readers pose as. I was able to read the stories written in the form of readers, writers, and people just passing the moments away.
I have often read stories strung with words and sentences, neatly bound in a book, but to have looked beyond the printed pages and into the wrinkles and frowns was uniquely satisfying. Stories bled into readers until the outlines blurred. Suddenly, I realized, I am not alone. I am not the only one who is struggling between being the story and reading it. Somehow or the other there are many who are striving to be both.
If you would like, you can explore my book haul of the day.
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Let us know what you thought of the book. If you would like us to review a book of your choosing, please leave your recommendations in the comments section.