Friday, April 28, 2017

The Sunday Haul (on 23-04-2017)

For the world April 23 might be World Book Day but for me every Sunday is a Book Day. This year World Book Day fell on a Sunday when I make my weekly visit to the Sunday book bazaar at Abids which made it all the more reason to buy more books. Since the beginning of this year I’ve been consistently lucky in finding good titles at Abids almost every Sunday. The previous Sunday I had found ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ by Thomas Pynchon, a mammoth book with nearly nine hundred pages. Last Sunday too I found two good books that I got cheap.
The first find was another cookbook to add to my growing collection of such books. I found a beautiful copy of ‘The Harekrishna Book of Vegeterian Cooking’ containing more than a hundred vegetarian recipes printed on glossy paper. It is a high quality book that I was glad I found and got for just fifty rupees. However I do not know when I will find use for it. So far I haven’t found use for any recipe book that I have bought over the years except on a couple of occasions.
The other book Uma spotted. It was a beautiful copy of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ by Ross Macdonald, one of my favourite crime fiction writers. I do not remember if I have this Ross Macdonald title in my collection but I bought it nevertheless. After flipping through the first few pages I realized that I haven’t read the book before so I bought it. It was in a good condition so I did not mind paying the sixty rupees the seller asked for it.
So that was how the World Book Day was for me.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Sunday Haul (on 16-4-2017)

It was quite hot last Sunday. I knew it would be because that was the forecast I read in the morning news. If I knew any better I should have stayed home but I did not. Nothing can stop me from going to Abids on Sundays, not rain, not sun. Anyway on that hot Sunday I ended up with two cool finds.
The first find was ‘Memoirs of an Infantry Officer’ by Siegfried Sassoon that I picked up from a heap of books selling for twenty rupees. I picked it up though I had not read anything about by this author and only knew that Siegfried Sassoon was a name I had read about earlier a long time back. It appeared like a good read so I felt glad I found this title.
The second find was a bumper one. I almost missed it but I spotted this massive tome at the last minute. I found ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ by Thomas Pynchon that I had read about somewhere I cannot recollect now. It was a thick book almost nine hundred pages and was thicker than a brick. I don’t know when I will find the time to read it but I definitely plan to read it someday. Interestingly this too seemed a war book. I got it for only fifty rupees. It needs a little fixing up because the cover had come loose and was kept in place by two strips of tape.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Sunday Haul (on 14-04-2017)

Summer is truly here in Hyderabad. After a few weeks of high temperatures hovering around forty degrees now it has touched 40 degrees already. Last Sunday at Abids I wondered if I should go ahead and browse around the pavements of Abids in the hot sun. I decided the heat and discomfort of being out in the hot sun was better than the miserable feeling I get if I sit at home on Sunday instead of visiting Abids. So there I was patiently looking up and down the covers of hundreds of books displayed on the pavements. This patience was rewarded at last when I found two titles that I picked up before I headed home to escape the scorching sun.
Though I am not a passionate conservationist I do love nature. I am concerned at the way some species are going extinct. I do not find many well written books on nature and wildlife in India at Abids. It is only very rare and infrequent that I come across a well written book on wildlife in India. On Sunday I came across a copy of ‘Nature’s Spokesman: M.Krishnan & Indian Wildlife’ edited by the venerable Ramachandra Guha that turned out to be a Penguin title. I confess that I did not know who M. Krishnan was until I picked up this book. This is a collection of more than sixty articles by M. Krishnan on wildlife in India edited by Guha. I felt very happy finding this wonderful book that I got for hundred rupees. I consider myself fairly well acquainted with people who write on various subjects and issues but I had not come across the name of M.Krishnan. It is my own loss but since I found this title I am really glad that now I know who he is.
The second find of Sunday was another title that I already have with me. In a corner of the street I found a copy of ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ by Dee Brown. I had found a good copy a long time back though I have not read it till now because it is a considerably sized volume. Since I already own a copy of this book I did not want to pick it up and went away. But on the way back after going up to the last seller I did not have the heart to leave this title behind and picked it up. It was in a heap of twenty rupee books so I took it. There might be someone who might want to read this book I thought as I paid for it and took it.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

A Trip, a Pen, and a Book

Last Sunday I was in Ooty on a short vacation with the family. It had been ages since we had been on a break so on the insistence of the family I agreed for a trip to Ooty. A week before I booked the entire vacation on MakeMyTrip which worked out a bit expensive but was worth it since we did not have any problems except one that I’ll mention later on. We flew to Coimbatore and from there motored up to Ooty. I had heard a lot about Mettupalayam since I was a child and finally I got to see the place, or rather, pass through it. Then it was an hour and half’s climb up the Nilgiri hills to Ooty via Coonoor. We stayed at a resort called Deccan Park Resort in Teetkul, away from the town. It was quiet and tranquil at the resort where we stayed for four days until Wednesday. During our stay we did the usual touristy things- sightseeing and shopping. We went to Doddabetta Peak, Botanical Gardens, Ooty lake, Pykara falls, again boating in the waters of the dam there, and on the way back we stopped at Coonoor where we went to Sim’s Park, Lamb’s Rock, and back to Coimbatore. The only problem we had was the cab driver who had a mind of his own. When I told him we’d have lunch at Mettupalayam he took us to Annnur. He was always late, never polite, and did not know the places well enough since he did not know how long it took to reach and how far the places were. If it weren’t for the driver we’d have had a better experience.
At Coimbatore we had a few hours to kill before catching the plane back to Hyderabad. So we ventured into Coimbatore where I had been earlier sometime in 1993 I guess. Coimbatore turned out to be a surprisingly neat town. Sometime in February I had read anarticle by K.Jeshi about an iconic hotel in Coimbatore -Hotel Annapoorna- in The Hindu and somehow I managed to read the article just before the Ooty trip. Luckily, I spotted the hotel when we were out shopping in Gandhipuram. We had snacks there that were shockingly cheap. Though I couldn’t find the time to look for books or bookstores in Ooty, I found a small store called ‘Pen House’ in Gandhipuram in Coimbatore where I bought an Oliver fountain pen for three hundred rupees. We rushed back to the airport only to learn that the flight was delayed by an hour. An hour later there was a message that it was delayed by another hour. Then again another message about another hour’s delay. Finally, the Spicejet flight that was supposed to leave at 8-15 pm left somewhere around midnight. I was relieved we got back from the trip safe and sound.
I have a confession to make here. About an year ago, sometime in the end of May I left the Secretariat Department where I had worked for almost six years and came back to my own department. I was posted to Nalgonda where I worked until mid-January shuttling between Hyderabad and Nalgonda almost every day. Luckily a friend told me to apply to an Institute in Hyderabad and quite miraculously I was taken in the Dr MCRHRD Institute which is incidentally located in a place I’ve written about here quite often- Jubilee Hills! I never thought I’d work in Jubilee Hills but here I am but more about it in another post. Anyway, at the Institute I am in a center called the Centre for Climate and Disaster Management. I have a bit of experience in Disaster Management having worked in the Disaster Management department at the Secretariat but my knowledge about Climate & environment isn’t much. Since I am supposed to teach about these issues I had to read as much about these subjects as I can find. I had read about ‘The Great Derangement’ by Amitav Ghosh and had seen it at the Akshara bookstore in Jubilee Hills. Yesterday (Friday) I went there and picked up the book. I had not been to Abids on Sunday because I was travelling and so buying this book somewhat made up for it.