If you are anything like me you probably will not swoon or faint if I tell you how many books I bought at the ten day Hyderabad Book Fair that ended on Sunday. If there is anything that’ll make me go out of control it is books. Then if there is anything that will make me go totally out of control then it is book fair. The problem with book fairs is that book lovers like me cannot get enough. Nnot only do they happen only once a year, there are too many stalls and they go on for nearly ten days which makes it impossible for someone like me to buy just one or two books. I ended up buying a total of 24 books, all of them second hand, by the way.
I was surprised at the huge crowd that had come on the first day itself which was a bit unusual since on the inaugural day nobody bothers to turn up. I had a lot of difficulty moving around I the stalls craning my neck this way and that way to look at the titles of the books arranged in a haphazard manner. Then at the second or the third secondhand book stall I entered I found the first of the treasure trove I managed to dig up over the six visits I made to the book fair. On my first visit on the first day I managed to find six wonderful titles.
The first book I found was ‘Kalki- Selected Stories’ translated by Gowri Ramnarayan. Frankly, I hadn’t heard of Kalki R. Krishnamurthy until I picked this book after I saw the Penguin imprint. I read inside that Kalki R. Krishnamurthy was a pioneer of modern Tamil literature and is best known for his historical fiction in Tamil, a genre in which he remains unsurpassed. He was also the editor of the Tamil weekly, Ananda Vikatan. Following my resolve to read as much regional literature as possible I picked up this collection that has a dozen stories: The Letter; The Poison Cure; The Rebirth of Srikanthan; The Governor’s Visit; Rural Fantasy; The Tiger King; Sivakozhundu of Tiruvazhundur; The Big Swelling Sea; The S.S. Menaka; The Ruined Fort; Veenai Bhavani; and Madatevan’s Spring.