I have never set foot on
Stacks of long columns of books all around me. I twist and squirm myself and gingerly step around, gaping open-mouthed and blinking through my bifocals. K grins at my idiotic expression. He knows I am in my element. Like a hunter delving into the great jungles, and parting the long grass to peek at a tiger, I push columns of books to either side to peer at further columns. This musty, heady smell of old books! How seductive, how fatally attractive! Like a Piranha in a feeding frenzy, I gobble up books. In some, love notes; heartfelt wishes, inscriptions, scribbled by someone in a far off country, from an age long past. I feel the pages of the books and think of them, those who gave it and those who read it, those shelves in some places I will never know, I will never see; these books some had held close to their hearts!
Every time my eyes fall on a gem, I utter – “Ahhh!!” Flares of interest flicker in K’s eyes. Not book-besotted like me and knowing that it is one of my disappointments with him, but affected by my infectious excitement, he also picks up a few. I am happy. The final damage is Rs.3,500/- plus. I’d have bought more, but I resist the temptation at the thought of lugging them all the way to
Immense, innocent happiness radiates all around. I look at the youngsters browsing and deeply engrossed in the books; I look at them carrying around shopping baskets full of books. I love them all. K says – ‘Now you have a BETTER reason to come to
********** Balachandran V ,