Friday, April 10, 2015

The Sunday Haul (on 05-04-2005)

Once in a while, maybe every two months or so, I land a big haul of books at Abids. I have no idea why it happens but I seem to find several good titles, one after the other, on some Sundays. Last Sunday was one such day when I ended up with a grand haul of nine books. To top this haul I was also gifted a book which makes it a total of ten books. This was the first major haul in this year and I am happy at the variety of titles I was able to gather.
The Sunday before I had missed picking up Sandor Marai’s ‘Casanova in Balzano’ that I saw in a heap of books selling for twenty rupees only. The first thing I did on reaching Abids was rush towards that heap. Incredibly enough, the book was on the very top with the dark red cover standing out. I almost pounced on it as if afraid someone else would make a grab for the book. This was the first book of the extra-large haul.
A few minutes after I picked up Sandor Marai I got a call from Jai that he had come to Abids. We met at our usual chai joint where we usually spend about half hour drinking chai and catching up on the events of the week. When Jai took out a title and gave it to me I was surprised. It was OV Vijayan’s ‘The Legends of Khasak’ and a brand new copy at that. I had read so much about it that I was glad at last it came into my hands. Afterwards we began our search.
It wasn’t very long before I found my first title. It was a crime title, ‘Gallows View’ by Peter Robinson which I picked up on Jai’s recommendation. I hadn’t heard of this author but I had confidence in Jai’s choice so I picked it up since the price too was just twenty rupees.
The next find was another copy of ‘Get Shorty’ by Elmore Leonard that I got for only twenty rupees. The copy was in very good condition and since it was one of those titles I hate to leave behind I picked it up. I have a copy with the same cover with me that I had found long back. I must have picked up at least a dozen copies of this title that I gave away to friends. In the same heap I found Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Cup of Fury’ that wasn’t in a good condition because the spine was discolored. However the title sounded interesting and it seemed to be some kind of memoir of drinking.
Onwards we went looking at the titles laid out on the pavement. Sometimes there is a treasure of new titles and sometimes many old titles pervade. I saw a faded copy of William Saroyan’s ‘The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze.’ It looked like one of those copies published sometime in the 1920’s and though this copy too was not exactly in a pristine condition I bought it. William Saroyan is a master story teller famous for his short stories. These are the twenty five stories in it: Seventy Thousand Assyrians; Snake; Love, Death, Sacrifice and So Forth; ards; And Man; Seventeen; Laughter; War; Harry; A Curved Line; Big Valle1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8; The Earth, Day, Night, Self; The Man With the French Post C y Vineyard; A Cold Day; The Big Tree Coming; Dear Greta Garbo; The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze; Among the Lost; Three Stories; Aspirin is a Member of the NRA, Sleep in the Unheavenly Peace; Fight Your Own Power; Common Prayer; The Shepherd’s Daughter; Myself Upon the Earth.
A couple of weeks ago I had found an old copy of a collection of short stories titled ‘The Love Letter and Other Stories’ by Vaikkom Mohammed Basheer, the noted Malayam writer. It was an English translation of his short stories and the title was brought out by Sangam Books, based in, intriguingly enough, Hyderabad. On Sunday along with another copy of this same title I saw another collection of short stories but by a different writer. It was ‘Night & Other Stories’ by Abdulla Hussein and this book too was by Sangam Books. I had not heard of Abdulla Hussein before but I was interested in reading his short stories so I bought it for the twenty rupees that the seller wanted.
Later I read that Abdullah Hussein is the pen name of Muhammad Khan born in 1931, and in the early sixties wrote Udaas Naslain (Sad Generation) his first novel which was considered among the best written in Urdu and also won the Adamjee Prize for Literature. ‘Bagh’ was his second novel. Abdullah Hussein is equally well known for his short stories and novelettes. I was glad to have found this title by this wonderful writer. ‘Night & Other Stories’ actually has only three stories in all. ‘Night,’ ‘The Little Brook,’ and ‘The Sea’ which take up the 170 pages. These were translated from Urdu by Muhammad Umar Memon. Whatever, I want to begin reading these stories very soon.

Then, as if icing on the cake, at the end of the trip to Abids, at Chikkadpally, on the way I found three Tin Tin titles-‘Tintin in Tibet,’ ‘Tintin and the Picaros,’ and ‘Cigars of the Pharaoh’. I got these three almost brand new copies for fifty rupees each. This was a lucky find.


kishorebharath said...

Interesting,Very good purchases ,It seems there are very good book and fountain pen collectors in hyd,I am more into indian non fiction works and short stories,I would like to venture into fountain pen world right now i am fineliner guy :P,Hope some day we will cross the pths in abids ,May be i will compete with u for a book purchase,Have a nice day :)

Vinod Ekbote said...

Kishore, thanks. Let's hope our paths cross in Abids. Keep reading the blog. :)

Rajendra said...

I envy you for the Tintins specially!