The Talk at Oakridge
After the presentation at New Delhi to a group of the country’s top meteorological big shots and others earlier in the month, I give another presentation to an entirely different bunch of little people last week. I gave a talk on natural calamities to students of sixth standard at Oakridge International School last Thursday. It was an entirely different experience for me since so far no audience at my talks or presentation had been 10-11 year old school kids.
The Sunday Haul
Since I had barred myself from going to Abids on Sunday I stopped at Chikkadpally while returning home from some errand. I found Shashi Deshpande’s ‘That Long Silence’ that I got for thirty five rupees. It had a nice cover and was in good condition. Though I had bought ‘The Binding Vine’ a couple of months ago I haven’t found the time to read it. Someday soon I plan to read these two books since I have not read anything by Shashi Deshpande so far.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Friday, March 21, 2014
Last Saturday I decided that I wouldn’t go to Abids since I had far too many books at home and did not want to add any more to that pile. My list of books to be read is growing longer by the day with the addition of an average of four or five books every week and hence this decision. On Sunday I stayed put at home fighting off the urge to rush to Abids. For some time I vacillated telling myself that I’d just go to only look at the books and not buy. I managed to control this urge until four in the afternoon. But suddenly I found it quite difficult to stay at home without even looking at the books on sale at Abids. However, true to my resolve, I did not go to Abids. I went up to Chikkadpally only.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Yesterday I happened to drop in at the Best Book Centre bookstore in Lakdikapul where I found a book I had missed twice. I first saw ‘Desert Shadows’by Anand (P. Satchidanandan), a Sahitya Akademi award winning title at the same store sometime last year. Though it was a Penguin title I did not buy it thinking it would be around for some time. When I went there a couple of weeks later it wasn’t there and I was disappointed. But when I saw the same book at Blossoms at Bengaluru last August again I missed buying it since by then I had picked up quite a few books and couldn’t afford to buy another. After I got back to Hyderabad I regretted not buying it at Bengaluru also. But when I saw it yesterday I grabbed it.
On Friday I landed at the venue near Lodhi Garden quite early to check out what the facilities were and reaching before everyone does gives you an idea who is coming and what is expected. Looking at the participants streaming in made me even more nervous because almost all of them were elderly gentlemen wearing suits and ties. I was one of the very few people in a simple dress sans tie or anything. My anxiety was further compounded at the time of the introductions when almost everyone turned out to be either Professor So So or Dr XYZ. They were all Directors or Heads of top institutions in the country and a couple of them turned out to be Vice Chancellors. This was the crowd I had to address and that thought made me wonder why I had agreed to make this trip. My anxiety lessened when the Cabinet Secretary departed after the tea break. Surprisingly, I was calm and when my turn came to speak I think I made a pretty impressive presentation.
I called up a friend who was my room-mate during my stay at Port Blair back in 2006. Rahul Dixit was just an intern at the NGO there when I joined him and now, after about eight years he has come a long way. Rahul came in his car to pick me up and we both went to Hauz Khas where I planned to check out Vandana Book Store in the Aurobindo Market. I had read about it long back and recently I was able to dig out the address. After a long chat with Rahul I went to Vandana and found they had Sheaffer fountain pens that they called the ‘No Nonsense’ model. They were light weight, good to hold and came cheap at Rs 250 each. I bought three of them, two for myself and one I gave to my brother. I thought I could fill ink straight away into the barrel since the pen did not have a filling system. But the pen started to leak so when I got to Hyderabad I went to Deccan Pen Stores in Secunderabad and got a filling system fitted that cost me more than what I paid for the fountain pen. But it writes beautifully and I was terribly glad I had been to Vandana Book Store.
On Saturday, the second day of the workshop, the whole thing was over by lunch time. After lunch I caught the Metro at JLN stadium station and went to Nehru Place. I checked out the Nanda bookstore but couldn’t find any title worth buying. There was a hard copy of Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’and also a hardcover copy of VS Naipaul’s ‘The Masque of Africa’ that I did not buy. I was back in Hyderabad by midnight. This was one trip to New Delhi when I returned without a book.