Friday, March 29, 2013

The Sunday Haul

Sometime during 2011 I found a copy of 'The Penguin Book of Modern of Indian Short Stories' during my hunt for books on Sunday at Abids. The only story I read in the book was titled ‘The Dog that Ran in Circles' by Gangadhar Gadgil. I remember it was about a man waiting at a bus stand and watching the dog. I liked the story very much and wondered where I would be able to read more stuff by Gangadhar Gadgil. Last Sunday at Abids I got lucky and found Gangadhar Gadgil’s ‘Crazy Bombay’ which is a collection of his English articles on Bombay. It was a slim book and I got it for thirty rupees.Inside I read that Gangadhar Gadgil was a 'towering figure' in Marathi literature and is credited to be the creator of the new short story in Marathi. He has written over fifty books in Marathi in almost every genre- short stories, humor, travelogues, novels, plays, literary criticism and so on.

I was also surprised to read that Gangadhar Gadgil was an economist and was the Principal of Narsee Monjee College of Commerce at Bombay and was also an economic advisor to leading industrial houses. With such a busy profession I wonder how he got the time to write so much. I am both glad and also a bit depressed at finding the book which is in English. The rest of his books are in Marathi, incidentally, my mother tongue. It was the first time I wished I had learnt to read and write in Marathi. Of the nineteen articles in the book I read 'Tea in Bombay' and I was amazed that it ran into eight pages. I enjoyed reading the lengthy article which was humorous and did not have any sort of repetition. There was even a mention of the Nizam of Hyderabad in the article and it gave me quite a thrill.

However, the book I found first on Sunday was an English translation of ‘The Quran’ by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan with a wonderful cover. I got it at an unbelievable price of fifty rupees considering the book was hardbound and almost new. One of these days I am going to start reading it. Another find was John McPhee’s ‘Coming into the Country’ that I got for twenty rupees only. I already have a copy of this book but picked it up anyway since there’d always be someone who might enjoy reading it.

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