Sunday, August 03, 2008

Book Worm

My current occupation has given me the opportunity to only meet the business heads so far and this so called networking always seems like a façade to me simply coz the meeting never seems to bring out the real people in them. As I ponder more about this whole scenario, I cherish my summer internship a great deal simply for the fact that it gave me an opportunity to meet lots of people from different walks in life. I could have a 10 min chat that would be more than sufficient many a time to bring out the queerness or the quirkiness in them. It always seemed like you were a reading a tale and then ended up becoming a passive observer yet being totally involved in the story of their life. I would initially feel very surprised at how people who had no business would want to know more about me or my background. It felt like a price I had to pay in lieu of their story. What happened on Friday evening was however very different.

I got out of office a little early and happened to look at the collection of books piled on the pavement. It has almost become a ritual for give a fleeting glance to the stack as I pass by the street mostly during lunch time. But this time around I happened to spot a book I had been intending to read in a long time now. After innumerable efforts to find the book on the roadside my efforts finally paid off and it is very hard to express the extreme sense of joy that I experienced. So I asked the book seller to hand me the copy to check whether the print etc was ok and the time came to negotiate the price. He sharply quoted it at 60 bucks. I thought that the price was reasonable but still decided to give haggling a try and asked him to settle the deal in 50 bucks. To my surprise, he almost snatched the book out of my hand and refused to take any less. I was stupefied at the fact that he promptly shot back in English saying: “Madam it is too less a price for this book”. He seemed to be in no hurry to sell the book. As I bought the book from him, he made me re aware of the fact that the book cost 10 times more in the adjacent shop and that it was not possible for everyone to afford that kind of price. The sole reason for him being in this business despite the raids was his love for reading and the absolute delight he saw on people’s faces when they could read all that they wanted at this cost. It couldn’t get more candid.

As I started gazing at the other books he could not help but mention how in his opinion Rushdie’s Midnight Children was one of the most beautiful books ever written. I refuse to believe that it was just a way to sell another copy because I could not miss the twinkle in his eye while he was ranting praises for the book, something which was reserved just for Rushdie’s piece of work and non other. Everything he said was clear and crisp like it echoed the truth all the way through. As I tried to probe more about his past, surprisingly he asked me nothing in return and did not even bother selling/recommending any book. Guess he found nirvana in simply selling books !



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