Friday, September 30, 2011

The Sunday Haul

One of my writerly ambitions is to write a complete movie screenplay. I had this ambition in mind long before the idea of writing a novel occurred to me. Though the novel is almost done the screenplay remains to be completed. So this ambition burns inside rather intensely. I have a couple of stories in mind that I have to put in the form of a screenplay. Until recently I had no idea of what a screenplay was and how it is written. Sometime back I found Syd Field’s books about screenwriting and read them. Syd Field’s books have been helpful in giving me an idea about how a screenplay is written. I have also a copy of Robert McKee’s ‘Story’ that I asked someone to get for me during one of those phases when I was serious about writing my screenplay. I started, hesitantly though, work on my screenplay that is still far from completion.

Though I do not watch many movies I like to read about movies, about reviews and almost everything connected with movies. I have even a couple of books by movie stars (David Niven, Kirk Douglas, Dirk Bogarde,) movie critics that I found at Abids and elsewhere. I have picked up quite a few screenplays too at Abids where last week I found Syd Field’s ‘Going to the Movies.’ Earlier I had seen the same book at a secondhand bookseller but the price was somewhere over four hundred rupees. It was way beyond my budget so I did not buy it which was a smart thing to do since I found the same book and paid only sixty rupees for it last Sunday. The book is in good condition and I’m already itching to begin reading it right away. Maybe that will spur me to finish the script I am working on intermittently at present. Despite reading so many actual screenplays and books on screenwriting I still feel there’s something I have to learn.

Coincidentally, a few hours after I bought the book, I read in Eenadu about Robert McKee’s ‘Story Seminar.’ I read that the seminar is proposed to be organized at Ramoji Film City sometime February next. I do want to attend the four day seminar but the fee is putting me off. The fees is somewhere around Rs 33000/ if paid by end of January 2012 and Rs 38605 after January 31. I am at a loss to decide whether to shell out the money and attend it though I know the seminar might be of use to me in writing the screenplay. I hope I will take a decision before I chew out all the nails on my fingers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Goodbye, Airtel. Hello, BSNL

Thanks to Airtel, since the past one year, every time I got a call on my mobile phone not only my family, but my immediate neighbours and practically everyone who lives in our lane knew it was my office calling. Every time my mobile rang I dropped whatever I was doing at that moment- getting into clothes, having breakfast, reading the paper- and rushed out of the room, out of the house, out of the gate and out on the road in our lane and try to catch the signal on my mobile. This is because my service provider is Airtel whose signal is so bad that I am sure even Airtel folks find it difficult to talk with each other on their mobile phones. Several times I wondered if I should seek out the nearest Airtel mobile tower and climb to its top to get the signal and have a clear talk.

I am sure I am not the only Airtel customer to have contemplated climbing mobile towers in order to catch the signal. One only has to read the papers to discover how many complaints there are about Aitel’s lousy service. One would have expected Airtel to pay attention to improving their service but instead they are spending the money on sponsoring events and also commissioning interesting ads as if that would somehow help the customer. Anyway, there are a few reasons why I am terribly angry with Airtel.

One such reason is that every month I received a rather joyously worded message from Airtel saying- ‘Airtel Radio is renewed and you have been charged Rs 30 for 30 days and 30 minutes free.’

Earlier I used to get this message before I got the previous message:

‘Aitel Radio will be renewed in 3 days. You will be charged Rs 30 for 30 days with 60 Free minutes of music. To unsubscribe call xxxxx’

These messages came without fail every month like I had nothing else to do all day except listen to the radio on my mobile. I am amazed that the Aitel folks think that despite TV, the net and other distractions there are people, especially Airtel customers, who still love the radio. As for me the last time I listened to the radio was sometime back in the early 80’s. That too was by accident. Dad had just got a new emergency lamp that also had a fan and other things. When I fiddled with the switches the radio came on and that is how I knew it also had a radio. I haven’t heard a song or anything on the radio since then. I haven’t also seen an actual radio set for decades now.

Anyway, so when I got those messages asking me to renew Airtel Radio I did not want to. I did not even know that my lousy Samsung mobile phone was also capable of radio facility. I tried to call the number they gave in the message to unsubscribe. Needless to say, no one responded on that number and three days later I would get the message that my Airtel Radio was renewed and that Rs 30 have been charged to my account.

After a couple of months of this Airtel simply messaged me that Airtel Radio was renewed and Rs 30 was charged to my account without even giving me the advance notice they used to send earlier. Maybe the intelligent folks at Airtel thought it wasn’t worth asking me beforehand if I was interested in renewing since they anyway wanted to add Rs 30 to their kitty. This, naturally, enraged me no end.

Everyone in the office had Airtel connections. Some clever guy at Airtel must have figured out that since all our connections are paid by the Government we wouldn’t mind a piddling Rs 30 being added to the bill. How wrong they were! We decided we’d go for number portability and switch to another service provider. Sometime last month we initiated the process. The Airtel guys panicked when we asked for the connections to be transferred to BSNL. Someone from Airtel actually called me up and asked why I was switching. I told him their reception is so lousy, that I get probably a million marketing messages everyday and also told him about the Radio. He had no answer to it and simply said thanks and put down the phone. I thought they had accepted our request but no, I was wrong.

Our request for portability was turned down on the grounds that there was some technical mismatch. We tried again, this time with BSNL guys on our side. The second time too Airtel refused the request saying we had pending payments issues. The third time however, they couldn’t refuse. The BSNL people took up the issue and somehow we were able to switch to BSNL. I am so happy since I can now take calls from my bedroom at any time of the day.

I wouldn’t have minded if the Airtel folks used the money they took surreptitiously to improve the service. But instead what do we get? Ads like the ‘Har Friend Zaroori Hotha Hai’ (which is a wonderful ad, by the way) and news that they are sponsoring some event. When will it get through the thick skulls at Airtel that offering better service to the customers will get them more customers than running creative ads on television.

To cut a long story short, I now have good old BSNL as the service provider for my office connection too. The BSNL network signal is so strong I am sure even if I am a couple of miles underground I will be able to talk with anyone. Now I can be somewhere deep inside my house and talk on my mobile phone instead of coming out on the street and shouting my head off.

Good riddance, Airtel.

Friday, September 23, 2011

FRIDAY DOUBLE POST Post 2: The Sunday Haul

Only after I reached Abids last Sunday morning and saw all those books laid out on the pavements did I realize why I had not been in my element since two weeks. I had missed the sight, the smell and the buzz of the second hand book sellers at Abids for two consecutive Sundays. One Sunday I was down with fever and the other Sunday the Ganesh procession blocked out everything. So for almost two weeks I went around suffering from some kind of withdrawal symptoms though I had picked up quite a good book on the Sunday of the Ganesh procession. Anyway, the good news is that this Sunday the Abids books sellers were present in full strength and all was well in my world.

One of the biggest attractions of the Abids book market is that the books come very cheap. One can get good, hardcover titles at twenty rupees and sometimes less. Though I had picked up two books at the Best Books sale the other day which left me a bit short on the money front I decided to drop in at Abids if only to soak in the sight of so many books, booksellers and book lovers. However, I found three good books that I couldn’t help picking up if only for the reason that I got them damn cheap. Actually, I picked up four books but the fourth cannot be called a book in the sense it is more an illustrated book meant for children.

The first find was with a seller who had several copies of those books that could have been issued sometime in the late fifties or early sixties. The illustrations on the cover was a give away. Since I was looking for Ted Lewis’ ‘Get Carter’ I patiently sorted through a large pile of books and instead found Graham Greene’s ‘The Quiet American,’ John Steinbeck’s ‘The Wayward Bus,’ and Dashiell Hammett’s ‘The Glass Key.’ I got all three books at a rounded off price of Rs 50 which meant each book cost me a little over fifteen rupees. Considering the titles I do not think I had spent too much.

The fourth find was Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ which someone a long time had asked me to look for. When I spotted the book I actually leaped to the pavement and pounced on it though it was unlikely anyone could have grabbed it right away. I leafed through the book and found that a few pages had moisture stains but otherwise in good condition. I got the book for thirty rupees and since then have been trying to remember who it was who asked for this book.

But the icing on the cake was the book Uma found for me. He had picked up a Spenser novel from a heap of books selling for twenty rupees. It was Robert B. Parker’s ‘Valediction’ and came from the same heap where we had earlier found ‘Ceremony’ a couple of weeks ago. I am sure if we sift through all the books in that particular heap then maybe I can find a couple more Robert B. Parker titles. That’s what I plan to do next Sunday.

FRIDAY DOUBLE POST- Post-1: The Book Sale Haul

Imagine breathlessly writing on the blog about waiting eagerly for an event and then forgetting about it altogether. This is what happened to me this month. A week back or so I had posted about getting excited about the sale of Best Books that would begin on 10th September. I remembered it until the ninth of September and afterwards forgot all about it. I wasn’t busy or anything but maybe the noise of all the drums of the Ganesh procession (I live near a temple) must have affected my brain somehow and made me forget. It wasn’t until I read Jai’s blog that I realized that the sale was on.

So without wasting much time I rushed to the sale almost three days after it had started wondering if there’d be any books left for me to pick from. The Best Book sale attracts a lot of book lovers because of the eclectic collection of titles though of late the collection has become old and jaded. This time however, almost all the books were almost new but expensive. I hoped I’d find some really good titles and did not think much about the budget though it was the middle of the month when the wallet goes all skinny. In the past at such sales I have been unable to come out with a couple of books in my hands. On this visit to the sale I picked up two really good titles.

The first book I saw was Pico Iyer’s ‘Sun After Dark’ which picked it up right away. I am a major fan of everything that Pico Iyer has written so far. I have with me ‘Falling Off the Map,’ ‘Video Night in Kathmandu,’ ‘Tropical Classical,’ ‘Global Soul,’ and I was on the look out for his other titles. So when I found ‘Sun After Dark’ I was glad no one had picked it up. ‘Sun After Dark’ is like all Pico Iyer books, a book about travel and has

Feeling very glad after finding ‘Sun after Dark’ I looked around hoping I wouldn’t find another good book because what I had to pay for it would empty my wallet. I saw plenty of books I already have copies of like Joan Didion’s ‘The Year of Magical Thinking.’ I pulled out the book underneath and almost jumped up in joy. Before me was a book that I had been looking sine a long time. At last I found Joan Didion’s ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’ that I decided to buy though it would make an enormous dent in my wallet. I got the book for and did not feel any regret. However, I decided not be anywhere near YMCA, Secunderabad where the sale is, for the next couple of weeks or at least until end of September when the sale too ends.

Back home with the books I opened them and read the first few pages. There was a poem on the first page of STB. The poem was TS Eliot’s and I discovered how two titles got their names. ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’ is a line in the same poem and in another line there is the phrase ‘Widening Gyre’ which is the title of Robert B Parker’s early novel. By the way there was only one Spenser title at the sale but I did not buy it expecting to come across a cheaper version of the same title somewhere at Abids very soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Azhar’s Tragedy is Our Tragedy

Marriage brings a change in some people, much more than they expected. But the event that completely transforms almost everyone is when people become parents. This sudden and drastic change is not difficult to understand. The day one becomes a parent is the day there’s another life you are responsible for. Out of this responsibility grows a fear, a fear that seizes every parent from Day One. It is the fear of losing one’s child. It is this fear that is top most in every parent’s mind overriding every other fear, even one’s own death. It is this fear that leads us to do or not to do a lot of things. This is the fear that gives the sort of nightmares that the parent wishes and prays does not ever come true. So when another parent goes through that nightmare, one involving the death of one’s child it is hard not to feel the grief.

There were quite a few occasions when I’ve been moved to tears on learning about the death of strangers, especially children. But this was the first time I found it difficult to stop the tears. Last Friday when I learnt that Azharuddin’s son had died I couldn’t help becoming terribly depressed. There was something about that tragedy that affected me very much. I don’t know Azharuddin personally and I had not seen any picture of Ayazuddin, his son, until last week. But I followed the news about the youngster in the hospital anxiously. Like everyone I hoped he would come out safely. More than anything I hoped he’d survive, that he’d live. But he didn’t, and it was hard to accept.

Usually, for parents it is common to feel sad when something bad happens to other children of their own kids’ age. As a parent of a thirteen year old kid I am not different. The sorrow and the grief arises from imagining what that young boy must have gone through all those days when he was in hospital unable to talk with anyone, trapped in a fearful darkness he couldn’t understand. I shudder to think how he must have tried to communicate his terror to those who were around him, hoping he’d somehow live. I feel very sorry for the two kids who died too young.

If a total stranger like me is unable to come to terms with it I really do not know how Azhar’s family will live with it. Not only will Azhar find it difficult to come to terms with his tragedy there will be another thing he might have to deal with- guilt. When something goes wrong with one’s kids the first thought that the parents have is ‘am I responsible in anyway for it?’ It will be tough for the families to live with the grief as well as the guilt all their lives.

But I wish all of us parents with young kids realize certain things. I hope we make our kids realize that they mean more than anything to us. I hope we tell all our kids the truth about alcohol, drugs, and the risky behavior that goes with it. It isn’t that we should not trust our children but one is not sure what will happen the next moment. I hope we make them realize that until they come back home we live in a state of fear. I hope we teach them that life is more important than anything, more important than going at high speeds. I wish we could teach them to stop and listen to what the traffic cops tell you all the time that ‘speed thrills but also kills.’

I hope we realize our responsibilities as parents and say no to certain things that our kids demand. I hope we know what they are and tell them where we draw the line.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Sunday Haul and Etc

Two weeks without going to Abids on my Sunday hunt for books would be tough for me to take. The Sunday before I was down with fever and couldn’t go to Abids. Last Sunday because of the Ganesh procession though it looked like there wouldn’t be the weekly book bazaar I nevertheless went to Abids. I found not a single book seller and instead I found barricades, cops all over, and an air of festivity. Uma too had come down and we both tried to drown our disappointment in coffee at the Taj Mahal.

However, all was not lost. Actually, while coming to Abids I had stopped at Chikkadpally on the way. About five people sell books at Chikkadpally on Sundays and three of them have a pretty decent collection from where I have picked up some good books. One of my recent buys was VS Naipaul’s ‘A House for Mr Biswas’ sometime ago. But last Sunday at one such seller I picked up another good title- ‘The Penguin Book of Modern Indian Short Stories’ edited by Stephen Alter and Wimal Dissanayake. The collection had twenty short stories by some of the famous names in Indian writing like Ismat Chugtai, T. Sivasankara Pillai, Amrita Pritam, RK Narayan, Nirmal Verma, and a few others I’m not aware of like Chunilal Mehta, Avinash Dolas etc. I read Gangadhar Gadgil’s ‘The Dog that Ran in Circles’ in it. . I was damn glad I found the book. I got it for ninety rupees which is a bit steep. It made up for any disappointment at the lack of sellers at Abids.

Another book I saw at Chikkadpally was Bill Bryson’s ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ that was offered for hundred and fifty rupees but I did not bite. Maybe some other time I might pick it up if it is still around. There was a book of Saadat Hasan Manto’s stories translated by Rakshanda Jalil that I’d been eyeing for quite sometime now. I haven’t picked up because of the steep price.

Later in the afternoon, having missed watching it in the evening on Saturday, I caught up with Just Books on NDTV Profit. The ‘What’s on My Bookshelf’ segment had Aatish Tasseer showing off his collection of books. The only book I had was VS Naipaul’s ‘A House for Mr Biswas’ and the rest were books I had not read. The other half of the episode featured Wajahat Habibullah on his book on Kashmir that he wrote. Just then there was a power cut and that was the end of Just Books for me.

Until I got a mail from Jai the other day that he had picked up quite a lot of books at the Best Books sale I wasn’t aware that the sale had started. Though I had written here on this blog that the sale was slated to begin from the tenth of September I completely forgot about it. Usually they put out an advertisement in the local papers but this time I did not come across any. Anyway, I have missed out on four days of the sale which means all the good books might have been snapped up by others smarter than me. I am going today and I hope I will find some books that I hope will blow away the cloud of disappointment that is hanging over me at this moment at not having been to Abids for two successive Sundays.


The Sunday before there was the Literary Review in ‘The Hindu’ that I keenly look forward to reading. In it I read that the Literary Review is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. I am amazed that The Hindu has persisted with it for so long. It deserves a lot of praise for bringing out Literary Review regularly. Literary Review is something that people who love reading, books and literature will enjoy. I also read with great interest about the two Literary Conclaves (Lit For Life) at Delhi later this month and in October at Chennai where the winner of The Hindu Fiction Literary Prize for Best Fiction 2011 would be announced. I wish I could be at Chennai on October 29-30 for the event.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Two Latest Lovelies

It is quite difficult describing the way one feels to possess something one has only dreamt about until then, especially if it is something highly unaffordable for the likes of me. It feels different to own a luxury item one hasn’t paid for. Every time I take out the Mont Blanc that I got as a gift and look at it, I feel like going down on my knees and saying a prayer of thanks. Getting that beautiful fountain pen as a gift was something of a major miracle of my life, one that perhaps might lead to another. However, apart from the envious looks it generates a Mont Blanc also has its downside.

A Mont Blanc, needless to say is more than an object d’art. It is a glorious tool that writes like a dream, gliding on the paper like silk. While writing with it one (at least for me) feels like one can write stuff that will bring the awards. Ironically, I do not write with it as often. Somehow I cannot get myself to write with that magnificent pen every day. I feel it is too precious a thing to use to write the sort of stuff I do if you get my drift. There’s another reason why I do not write with it. I scribble quite a lot everyday, sometimes filling up nearly five pages of, usually, nonsense. Given the kind of writing I do I have to pause to refill my Mont Blanc after just a couple of paragraphs. I would be using up at least one bottle of Mont Blanc ink every month if I use the pen to write regularly. In case you did not know a bottle of Mont Blanc ink costs nearly nine hundred rupees. One can imagine the size of the hole it will make in my wallet if I write with my Mont Blanc everyday. However, I do love my Mont Blanc Meisterstuck. While I love everything about the Mont Blanc, the sleek, light body, the shape, the fit, and especially the nib, I do not like its filling mechanism. It is a pain to fill the ink. I am a simple sort of chap and want everything to be simple. So I am always on the look out for a pen with a smooth nib and one that has an open barrel without any fancy filling mechanism.

The problem with other handmade fountain pens that I own is while they are great to look at and hold their nibs are almost third rate. When I read on Biswanath Ghosh’s blog about the Wality pens with Sheaffer nibs that he bought at Chennai I was keen to get one for myself. Recently one of my friends happened to visit Chennai and I asked her to get three such pens for me from Gem & Co. I was told that Gem & Co was no longer fitting Sheaffer nibs to Wality pens and instead I could get Gama pens with the Sheaffer nibs. I agreed. After a long wait I got my three Gama pens- two blue and one steel bodied fountain pen, fitted with Sheaffer nibs with medium point. It was an agonizing wait. But it was worth the wait because they are exactly what I was looking for all these days. They are of the right weight, size and also they write very smoothly. I had planned to keep all three for myself but I gave away one to a friend. I have decided to keep the blue one at home and the steel bodied one at the office.

However, I found that the Gama fountain pens aren’t so perfect. One problem is that the body is made of plastic which appears to be too fragile. One has to be careful not to drop the pen or use too much force to open it while filling it with ink. Another irritating thing is that they have a starting problem. After keeping aside the pen for a while the nib dries up and one has to shake it or fiddle with the nib to get the ink flowing again. To sort the problem out I took the pen to the experts at Deccan Pen Store. Deccan Pen Stores has experts who can fix any problem with any pen. They told me I may have to replace the plastic feeder with an ebonite feeder. I now want to get ebonite feeders for both the pens but the only problem was that I have to leave the pens with them. They have to make the feeder individually by hand which can take a couple of weeks. One of these days I plan to give one of the pens to Deccan Pen Stores to fit the ebonite feeder while I write with the other pen.

I have to thank a lot of people for bringing these pens to my hands. Thanks, Biswanath Ghosh for giving me the info about Gem 7 Co. Big thanks to Subha for bringing them from Chennai. Thank you, Gem & Co, for making the pens. Thanks, Uma Shanker for the pictures above.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Behind the Scenes of a Rescue

For all those who get the impression that people in the government, especially in state government, are slow, indifferent, and have thick skins will perhaps change their minds after they read about something what we did last week. What we did last week wasn’t unusual for us in this department but at the same time wasn’t so common. It was also another occasion I got an idea of what lives cops, doctors and all those who work in such professions lead. It was also something that made me a bit proud about my colleagues in the state government. Last week, because of the government’s swift response, three people perhaps lived to see another day.

On Saturday evening I was just about to reach home when I got a call on my mobile. They wanted me back at the office. It was almost eight and I just had a long day at the office and was looking forward to an early dinner and going to bed early as I felt a fever develop. I was told there was a message from one of the districts about people trapped in a river and who had to be rescued. The air force had to be called in, and for those who do not know, such a rescue just doesn’t happen like that. There is a procedure for it which has to be followed no matter what.

To cut a long story short, I returned to office. When I got to the office and had it opened, the message was from Karimnagar about three shepherds trapped after water was released suddenly from a full dam. They could only be airlifted from the swift waters. I had three people in the office to help me. We quickly typed out a message to the control room at Delhi at about half past eight asking for assistance. We called the air force people and gave them the same message. We told the district people that we had passed on their message. In less than half hour Delhi contacted the air force and gave the go ahead for the rescue by the IAF. But it could be done only in the morning since helicopters do not fly in the night. Our jobs done we went back home. There was another hitch which one of my bosses solved by sheer persistence until late in the night.

Next day morning I learnt that even before the IAF choppers took off the district administration got hold of boats and rescued two people. Only one guy couldn’t be rescued by the boat and was left marooned. Only the choppers who got there soon after picked him up and brought him to safety. I had a fear that by morning I would get the news that the three people had been washed away in the darkness. But the story had a happy ending with the three people being rescued.

On Monday there were heaps of messages lying around- the message from Delhi to IAF, the message from IAF to us about the rescue, the message from the district people about how the three people were rescued. I learnt that the local revenue officials spent the whole night by the side of the canal trying to be keep up the morale of the three people out there in the middle of the fast flowing and dangerous waters. We did not do much except transmit the message and I think it is these government people in Karimnagar who deserve the credit.

It felt good to have played a small and insignificant part in the rescue of people who you don’t know and people you may not ever meet.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

No Post

I'm not well. Post appears tomorrow or Friday.

Friday, September 02, 2011


A couple of months ago I found a copy of Jonathan Raban’s ‘In Arabia’ at Abids. I did not remember there was a copy of the same book lying unread in some corner of my house. I had picked up the book so long ago that I had completely forgotten about it. But after I bought the recent copy and checked my list I realized I have two copies of the same book which is not unusual with me. Anyway, ‘In Arabia’ is now in one of the heaps of books I keep aside in the hope of reading some time when I have lots of time on hand. Of course, such a thing never happens because I, like everyone else, never have enough time to do anything properly. So I haven’t read ‘In Arabia’ yet. In fact I haven’t sampled Raban’s writing so far though I am aware he is a famous travel writer.

Last Sunday at Abids I found another Jonathan Raban title- ‘Hunting Mister Heartbreak’ a book about Raban’s travels in America. The publisher is Edward Burlingame Books which is an Imprint of HarperCollins. It was lying in a heap of books selling for Rs 30 so I picked it up. It is a hardcover copy with the jacket intact and also in quite good condition. When I looked inside I found that it was a First US Edition and was first published by Collins Harvill in 1990. Anyway, I thought it was a good find, if only I could find the time to read it.

A little before I had found ‘Hunting Mister Heartbreak,’ I found another book that I had missed buying more than a year ago. Coincidentally, this was also a travel book like Raban’s. When I first saw Chris Stewart’s ‘Driving Over Lemons’ I wasn’t very inclined to buy it so I let it go. Recently I read about the book somewhere online. Though I wasn’t exactly looking for it I couldn’t resist picking it up for the reason that it was an excellent copy priced irresistibly- Rs 30. The publisher was an unusual name that I hadn’t heard before- Sort Of Books based in London.

The two book haul wasn’t the only thing that was good about half the Sunday. I had a long chat about writing, books, and such stuff with Uma and Daniel afterwards. Though I wasn’t exactly in sunny moods since I had to go to office later in the afternoon, the company of friends and the talk made up for the disappointment of spending the holiday at work.

A bit of news that I gleaned while chatting with the book sellers was about Best Books’ secondhand book sale. The sale is slated to begin sometime around the tenth of this month (September) and might go on for two weeks. I am eagerly waiting for it since they did not have their usual sale in May. They skipped it this year for some reason. I plan to pick up not more than two books at the sale but I know I will end up buying at least half a dozen books. They put up some really good books at the sale that draws quite an impressive crowd. One has to check out the sale on the first two days to bag some really good titles.

The day before, on Tuesday, I learnt that Amish Tripathi, the author of the bestseller ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ had been to Hyderabad on Monday to launch is latest title. Though I read the papers from end to end I have no idea how I missed reading about this event beforehand. I came to know about it only yesterday after I read it in The Hindu. I have ‘Immortals of Meluha’ that Hari gave me but I am yet to read it.