Monday, February 11, 2013


With many qualifications, I adore Bombay. This time, the qualifications just removed themselves: I stayed in town, had one reading and one and a half days to myself to do what I wanted. What I did was wander round, watch people, meet friends, browse the Dilli Haat-ness of Kala Ghoda during the festival. I sat facing the sea, I sat under trees, moved with the shade, began and finished Brat Farrar. Paid homage to Mondegar and Leopold.

And bought lots of books. 15 of them. The first two, I bought on my way to my reading, just a little bit away from the David Sassoon Library. I didn't dare to leave them there because the session was going to be chock full of poets, and what if it occurred to even one of them to check out the place and pick precisely these books up?

Books 1 & 2: Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poets from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond* [ed. Tina Chang, Natthalie Handal and Ravi Shankar]. And Anne Sexton: The Complete Poems**.

Next to the guy who had these books, there was another who had mostly art magazines and law books. But he also had a whole lot of other stuff and two things that I saw and coveted. I promised myself I would return the next day for them. What was to be a minor rescue mission turned out to be a major evacuation.

Here's what I got:

The abridged Don Quixote is, of course, for the kid; as is Goopy, Archy's Life of Mehitabel and the Leslie Charteris. The le Carre and the Mary Stewart are replacement copies and the Allingham is so! beautifully! preserved! Also, Rumer Godden. Only finding a copy each of Flowers for Mrs. Harris or Cider with Rosie would have made my joy more complete.

But the books I'm really pleased about finding are the Ali A. Mazrui, Book 1 [see above] and the Raymond Carver.

Especially the Carver, for all sorts of reasons. The title and the title poem (Where Water Comes Together With Other Water). The joy of finding a collection which contains an individual poem that has moved you. The wanting to know whether Carver's poems were edited as hard as his stories and if so by whom.

Oh, and because I love donkeys, (if you didn't know this about me already, welcome to the blog and make yourself comfortable) and I can never find donkey things the way other people find owls, elephants and tortoises, I was ecstatic because this time I lucked out!

So the kid gets Don Quixote and I get Donkey Hottie.

Okay, fine. It's a pack mule. But I'll take what I can get.  


But I'm not done.

A couple of days before I left for Kala Ghoda, I was in a sad-but-foul mood about something I can't even remember now. I complained about it and asked for hugs or books and my friend offered to send me something.

I came back from Bombay to find she'd sent me Anuja Chauhan's Those Pricey Thakur Girls. Needless to say, I swallowed it in one sitting last night and my crush on Chauhan just grows and grows. It is full of late-'80s Delhi wonder and though I never thought I'd hear myself say this, it made me so nostalgic for my late-teens! All the Depauls and Wengers and Bercos and every cheesy song and landmark and Delhi thing (including Interact, for heaven's sake) was there and I loved it.

At the risk of sounding like GRRM fan, I want the next book from her, like, later this year or something.


*I wonder whose copy landed up on the pavement so soon after the book came out. Reviewer? Or *gasp* Contributor?

**I picked this one chiefly for an over-wrought, handwritten letter from a son to his mother on the flyleaf. Either she was heartless or dead and the book landed up on the pavement. Either way, it's fascinating.


pi-pu-xi-xu said...

I adore that donkey!

And I should get my copy of Chauhan's latest by tomorrow. Yay! Still have to read Battle for Bittoria, but adore The Zoya Factor. :)

And I am your blog-stalker. :D

dipali said...

I love Donkey Hottie!