Friday, August 29, 2014

The Sunday Haul

Some time back, 2011, I guess I read somewhere about the books that Barack Obama took on his vacation to read. One of the titles that I remembered was John Le Carre’s ‘Our Kind of Traitor’ and the other title was David Mitchell’s ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.’ I have come across ‘Our Kind of Traitor’ but haven’t seen the other title anywhere till last Sunday.

On Thursday I was in a second hand bookstore where I saw a copy of David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’ selling for Rs 100. Somehow I didn’t buy it though I was aware of its bestseller status. Also, it was quite a tome. I had several titles bigger than that (like The River of Smoke, Idris) lying unread and I did not want to add one more intimidating doorstopper.
On Sunday, at a seller near the GPO I found a nice copy of ‘The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet’ which was quite a tome with 560 pages. The seller was ready to give it to me for Rs 80 rupees which I shelled out. I knew because I wouldn’t be able to find it anywhere so cheap.
Another book I picked up on Sunday was Stephen King’s ‘Everything’s Eventual’ which is a collection of 14 dark tales- Autopsy Room Four, The Man in the Black Suit, All That You Love Will Be Carried Away, The Death of Jack Hamilton, In the Deathroom, The Little Sisters of Eluria, Everything’s Eventual, L.T’s Theory of Pets, The Road Virus Heads North, Lunch at The Gotham CafĂ©, That Feeling YOU Can Only Say What Is It in French, 1408, Riding the Bullet, and Lucky Quarter. I had recently finished reading his ‘On Writing’ once again and thought it would be a good idea to taste some of his stories. This book was with the same seller who gives the books to me at any price I ask. I got it for fifty rupees which is a bit higher than what I usually pay but then this was an almost brand new copy.
Apart from the two good titles I found, the Sunday was a special for another reason. Jai came along with Hari Balakrishnan, watch and pen collector/restorer/expert with an unmatched knowledge of fountain pens made in India. Recently I had bought three fountain pens from him so I was keen to meet him and thank him personally for the fountain pens with the special nibs that are a pleasure to own and write. Along with Uma and Srikanth, we were quite a crowd.
In the photographs taken by Shrikanth at Abids: Uma in red tee and Raybans pretending to be intimidated in my presence beside him. Hari B next to me and next to him Jai bhai.

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