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.
Friday, March 24, 2017
The uncomfortably warm sun on Sunday morning while I was at Abids was a clear indication that summer was down upon us in Hyderabad. I’ve taken to wearing a cap and also carrying a bottle of water with me to Abids on the Sunday book hunts at Abids. I can well imagine how it would be in the weeks to come. On the first day of March the Met Dept had predicted that it would be another hot summer this year too. I do not understand what to do if it becomes unbearably hot even to step outside. But I am worrying needlessly I guess.
A futile hunt for a title I missed buying the Sunday before showed how dumb I could be sometime. I had seen a copy of a James Salter novel whose title I cannot recollect now however hard I try. I had tried a tactic to bring down the price but obviously it failed. When a seller quotes a price and I quote a price in return I try to walk off as if to pretend I was not interested. Usually the seller calls me back and gives it to me at the price I asked but last week though I walked off the seller did not call me. So I walked away thinking I would get the book the next Sunday. Next Sunday was last Sunday and the book was nowhere to be seen that made me quite mad at myself. If I cannot find it the next Sunday then I would assume that someone smarter than me had bought it.
Friday, March 17, 2017
Friday, March 10, 2017
Last Sunday was one of those not-so-rare Sundays when every title in the haul at Abids was a treasure. Usually, one or two titles in my average haul of 3-4 books happen to be outstanding titles but once in a while all the titles in the haul are truly good titles ( or titles that I think are good) that fill me with a lot of joy at finding them. On Sunday the haul at Abids consisted of three books and all of them were titles that one cannot find so easily and at such low prices. It was my second or third Sunday of the year when the entire haul was a treasure.
There are a couple of sellers in the lane at Abids where I park my bike before setting off to look for books on the pavements. I usually begin by checking out their wares first before going on a predetermined circuit I follow every Sunday. My first find was in the spread of books laid out on the pavement by one of the sellers in the lane. I spotted ‘Break, Blow, Burn’ by Camille Paglia and picked it up to take a closer look at the cover where it said ‘reads forty three of the world’s best poems.’ I glanced inside and found that the book belonged to a professor in an engineering college that I pass everyday on my way to work.
Saturday, March 04, 2017
Last Sunday at Abids it wasn’t as hot as it was the Sunday before. It was sunny and warm when I reached Abids at my usual time of eleven. Apart from the good weather the other good thing was the presence of my friends who turned up after a long time. We sat for a long time in the café talking books, movies, and catching up on our lives until that day. To top up I ended up with a nice haul of four books.
Friday, February 24, 2017
On Saturdays Business Line comes out with its supplement ‘Blink’ that I had begun reading a couple of years back for its interesting mix of articles. It is not easy to find ‘Business Line’ with the usual vendors because it seems the paper gets sold out soon enough. Only a few vendors have enough issues that can be found at any time. I usually buy it at a vendor at Lakdikapul. Last suggested the vendor asked me if I wanted ‘Mint’ as well and offered it to me assuming I wouldn’t say no. So I took it and sometime after returning home from work I found the time to read it. Inside was a very interesting article titled ‘The Slow Rise’ by Neha Bhatt that was about artisanal and home-made breads. It was a wonderful piece about how some people were baking some interesting breads.
Friday, February 17, 2017
On the sixth of this month I turned fifty four. I am yet to believe that I have actually crossed fifty years. As the age increases the gifts seemed to be coming down. However, there are two friends who never fail to give me a present on my birthday. This year too they offered to present whichever title I wanted since they knew I loved to get books as gifts. So I chose two books. I told M to send me ‘Ghachar Ghochar’ by Vivek Shanbhag and when I went with Hari to Landmark I picked up ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi.