Friday, June 23, 2017

The Sunday Haul (0n 18-06-2017)

Another rain-free morning and another three book haul was how my Sunday morning book hunt at Abids turned out to be. It was just another normal Sunday for me, apart from the fact that one member of our three-man team re-joined the team after a long gap.
The first ever full size book that I read from beginning to end was ‘The Man-Eater of Malgudi’ by RK Narayan that I finished reading in half a day during summer holidays nearly forty years ago. It was the book that got me hooked to books. I was about thirteen or fourteen years old then and over the years I managed to read almost everything that RK Narayan wrote. The only title of his I couldn’t lay my hands was ‘The Emerald Route’ that I learnt was a sort of travelogue. I wasn’t able to find it all these years despite looking for it all over. So, last Sunday when I spotted it at Abids I was very thrilled. I couldn’t believe it until I held it in my hand and looked over the book published by Vision Books. The book cost me just forty rupees.
The next title I found at Abids last Sunday was a book that was so beautiful that I decided to buy it right away without even looking at the title properly. It was a hard cover copy of ‘Somebody’s Sister’ by Derek Marlowe. The name seemed familiar and I had a hunch that it could be a good read so I bought it. It was a beautiful copy published by Book Club Associates, London and it said ‘by arrangement with Jonathan Cape.’ I found the jacket intact and not a single blemish anywhere on the book except one thing. On two of the front pages and one at the back page there was a round stamp that said ‘Lata and Rao Home Library’ but gave no indication of the place. The date written in ink inside the circle was 27/1/87 which makes it a thirty year old copy. Yet it was in perfect condition.

The third book I found was one related to another hobby of mine- crosswords- that I haven’t been following as keenly as my younger brother who regularly makes it to the Top 20 list of the Indian Crossword League held every year. Anyway, I found a copy of ‘The Daily Telegraph- How to Solve Crosswords Faster’ by May Abbott. Somehow finding this title made me think about going back to the habit of solving crosswords. Once I finish reading this book I might resume this interesting pastime.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Sunday Haul (on 11-06-2017)

The coming of the rains and the Ramzan season changed things at the Sunday book market at Abids. For one it has become much cooler and for the first time I did not wear the cap while out at Abids. Then the usual stores were open for Ramzan shopping and so the second hand booksellers moved out of their usual spots before store fronts to other spots in Abids. Luckily, it did not rain and I wanted to take advantage of it and look keenly for titles I wanted to buy.
But last Sunday I wasn’t as lucky as I was the past few Sundays and couldn’t find a single title worth buying. However, at Chikkadpally on the way home I found a good copy of ‘The Best American Essays- 2011’ edited by Edwidge Danticat. The copy I found was almost brand new and I felt lucky to have spotted it. I got it for just sixty rupees which was a steal considering there are twenty four essays by some of the best writers in America and that were published in various publications in the year.

In the list of twenty four writers I could recognize only four names- Christopher Hitchens, Pico Iyer, Chang-Rae Lee, and Zadie Smith. The rest were names I was not familiar with. However, I am looking forward to reading all the essays in it soon. Since Sunday I’ve managed to finish reading three essays and strangely, all of them were about death. Katy Butler’s ‘What Broke My Father’s Heart’ was a candid essay about her father’s last days that had me thinking about where medicine was taking us.

Friday, June 09, 2017

The Sunday Haul (on 4-6-17)

Last Sunday at Abids I found a wonderful gem. I found a beautiful copy of ‘Signatures: One Hundred Indian Poets’ an anthology some of the best poetry by some of the best poets in all Indian languages that is edited by K. Satchidanandan. I was thrilled to spot this NBT book on the pavement while browsing for good titles to pick up. Some days the gems simply turn up before you and it was one such day when this book came into view. I picked it up the moment I saw it absolutely certain that it would contain some wonderful stuff. Nowhere can you find so many poems written by so many poets in so many languages. I got it for just fifty rupees whereas the original price of this NBT publication is seventy rupees.
I am sure anyone can get copies of this title though it was published in 2000. I felt so happy finding it that I did not bother to look carefully for other treasures that I might have found had I been attentive. I do not mind it having found just what I needed.

There are hundreds of poems by hundred poets in twenty languages in this book. Some of the poets includes those I am familiar with Dilip Chitre, Arun Kolatkar, Nissim Ezekiel, Sitakant Mahapatra, Jayanta Mahapatra, Keki Daruwallah, Sri Sri, A.K. Ramnujan, Kamala Das, Keki N. Daruwallah, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Balakrishnan Chullikad. But missing are Gieve Patel, Adil Jussawalla and others. However, there are so many poets in other languages I do not know and who I am eager to read.

This is a real treasure that I found.

Friday, June 02, 2017

The Sunday Haul (on 28-05-2017)

Overnight the weather changed in Hyderabad last week from being oppressively hot to pleasantly cool. A heavy downpour on Saturday night brought in pleasant weather on Sunday with clouds shutting out the sun. For the first time this summer I felt it not necessary to wear a cap while browsing at Abids. The pleasant Sunday morning was topped with a good haul for me that consisted of just one book but it was a mouth-watering title.

Camellia Panjabi is a familiar name in the culinary world. Though I have a fair idea about some of the good and well known culinary classics I had no idea that Camellia Panjabi authored a cookbook. The Sunday before I had spotted ’50 Great Curries of India’ by Camellia Panjabi at one of the sellers who occupies the pavement in the Hollywood shoes lane at Abids. It was a large, hard cover volume by Rupa publishers with a beautiful cover and even more beautiful pictures of mouth-watering dishes inside. I was sorely tempted to buy it right away but the price written in pencil in one of the inside pages deterred me. I put it back without even bargaining with the seller thinking I’d buy it the next Sunday.

Last Sunday however I decided to buy it after I found it after a brief but frantic search for it. I turned out to the first buyer so the seller was eager to make his first sale. I took advantage of the sentiment of the sellers about not turning away the first sale and asked for a pretty low price. I knew it was a bit unfair to take such an advantage. However, in the end I got it for a price that we both were happy with.
’50 Great Curries of India’ is aimed mainly at the British who are fascinated with Indian curries. It was worth a lot more than what I paid for the book because it had a wonderful introduction by Camellia Panjabi along with recipes for fifty mouth-watering dishes. While flipping through the pages I was stumped by a dish that was from my state. It was a chicken dish the recipe for which was given to the author by the wife of a former Chief Minister of the State when it was a combined State. Incidentally, the Institute where I am posted now happens to be named after him