Friday, March 14, 2014
FRIDAY DOUBLE POST: POST-1/2; 2014 Trips: Trip No. 1- Another Trip to Delhi
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.