Saturday, August 25, 2012

First Love, Second Hand...

At first it was love, envy, aspiration...

My affair with second hand books- those that belonged to strangers who bought and sold them to neighborhood libraries, raddiwalas...

I would see new books, mint-fresh at the Strand book stall. Pick many, put some back and buy a few. Then I'd walk to Flora Fountain... and hunt for the real treasures... Old, some tattered, many untouched... new, pirated prints. And I'd blow up my college allowance. I picked classics, because the intellectuals talked of them; pop fic because everyone in the train seemed to be reading them; and some I'd pick, well, just because I wanted to and I could afford to.

These days I shop online... brand new books, excessively packaged, impeccably delivered by Flipkart and Infibeam with complimentary bookmarks printed with witty, wacky or wise words.
The temptation to read online reviews before buying is often overwhelming, and I succumb to it. But still, sometimes I walk to that streetside shack in IC colony, or that tiny book store in Raghuleela amongst trashy Thai and ugly Indian-fusion fashion stores, and buy a 30 Rs second-hand, unheard-of book... just like that... :)

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