A couple of years ago I had visited Pragati Maidan for another book fair that was smaller. At that time too I had bought a few books in the second hand book stalls. At the World Book Fair I did not expect they would allow second hand book stalls but I found a couple of stalls selling old and rare books. There were also sellers offering books at bargain prices. The sheer number of stalls, small and big at the several halls took me by surprise. Not surprisingly, the venue was thronging with enormous crowds buying up books. Only a month ago I had been to the Hyderabad Book Fair and now I was at another book fair.
The day before, at Hyderabad, I had happened to meet a friend who was a voracious reader with a fine taste for books. She had told me that she had read Perumal Murugan’s ‘One Part Woman’ and said it was very good. In the cavernous stall that Penguin Random House had set up at the WBF it was so packed with visitors that it was difficult to even take a proper look at all the titles on display. Somehow I managed to quickly scan the titles on the shelves and was surprised to find ‘One Part Woman’ that I decided to buy. There was a twenty percent discount so I got it at a fairly decent price.
Back at my brother’s home I got to read the Sunday papers. In the Sunday magazine of The Hindu Jaya Bhattacharji Rose had written in her column that there seemed to be more crowds than usual at the WBF. I though her observation was absolutely on the mark. Being the last day of the fair many people seemed to have come to buy books. Only last month there was the annual Book Fair in Hyderabad and compared to WBF it seemed quite small.