Monday, June 8, 2009

Book-lovers beware

The scene: A beyond crowded CG Road, one of Ahmedabad's only so-called high streets, at 9:00pm on Sunday evening. Roads choc-a-block with traffic, haphazardly parked cars, commuters in Sunday slow-driving mode, benign chaos, and the like.

The characters: A hungry Nino, Nino's Mum on a mission, An irritated with traffic maneuvering Nino's Dad and a very entertained Geetaben, Nino's care-giver.

The premise: A book fair.

Ahmedabad suffers from a frightening paucity of book stores and book fairs. So when a really good book fair came along, I was not going to be one to miss it. I'd wanted to have a go at it alone, so I could pour over the books without Nino's patience wearing out or for that matter of Nino's Dad's as well. Somehow I couldn't work that out and we ended up going to the book fair, all of us together.

The unity of the Nino family however, was doomed given the timing and the various moods of the characters. So eventually I stayed at the book fair and Nino's Dad drove Nino and Geetaben to a takeaway place where they grabbed some food and decided to pick me up on the way back. Unfortunately, I wasn't done. So they parked the car and fed themselves, arguing over spilt food, traffic rules and why three-year-olds-cant-have-chewing-gum. Atleast five irritated and abrupt phone calls from Nino's Dad later, I emerged from the book fair at around 10:30pm, sweaty but grinning at the lot I'd managed to pick up for Nino.

(Nino's Mum, walking towards car, struggling with jhola, and two very heavy plastic bags, phone ringing in her butt pocket): Hi! I'm back.

Nino's Dad: (to no one in particular) She's back.

Nino's Mum: Sorry, it was just too good to be true, I picked some great books for Nino, lots of Eric Carle...

Nino (interrupting): Mama, why can't three year old's have chewing gum?

Nino's Dad (before Nino's Mum can answer her budding 20questions champ): Did you remember to take the credit card back?

Nino's Mum: Yes, of course, what do you mean, the last time was an accident. All right and then I spent....

Nino (interrupting): Why is it called chewing gum, mama, can we really eat gum?

Nino's Dad: Why don't both of you get settled so we can get going?

Nino's Mum, who is quite dejected at the lack of interest in the books she's picked up, turns to Geetaben and says, with big smile: I got lots of books Geetaben, some 80 per cent off! 14 books for Nino. Some to keep for later... some I ....

Geetaben: You din't pick up his shampoo and soap?


In love with my life said...

Ho ho ho...Geeta Ben sounds like valiamma.They must have been seperated at birth. As for the husband-i shall reserve my comments.
So much for passionate hoarding of books.Make it all up by reading them, NOW.

Anonymous said...

I think they would enjoy knowing about the books at a saner moment :)


Sujatha said...

LOL! My full sympathies, NM! And I can empathize! Although now that C is much older he's firmly in my camp. :)

choxbox said...


here's to many hours of happy reading!

and which eric carles did you pick up?

choxbox said...

and oh this reminds me of a used books sale in a school long back in london - they were going at 10 and 20 p can you believe it? all almost new. i was grabbing books with both hands even though it was pouring. returned home drenched to the bone but with a grin that lasted a week :)

Grasshopper said...

ha hah ahahahah

you poor thing, i understand eggjactly how u feel.

my kid hates books. he doesn't read or write without a whack and tears and high pitch drama.

Sands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sands said...

That's hilarious. Am sure when they have their immediate concerns addressed they will appreciate the books! Atleast Nino will. If your husband is anything like mine then not much of a chance there. Can't get the man to read anything other than reasearch materials, cook books and manuals related to work:(

VJ said...

Hey NM,
Can empathize on the Nino's Dad's lack of interest !! same story in our household too !!
and Geeta Ben is so sweet !!

Swati said...

Waaaaah! I want that book fair! Now!

sole said...

Its pretty sad isn't it, when we are so excited about something and people around seem least interested and hardly reciprocate!!

But as Anjali says at a saner moment it might have all made more sense for the family :-)

Nino's Mum said...

InLove - Well, the excitement kicked in later when we settled to read 'so many new' books for bedtime!

Anjali - hahaha! you were right! also, I must say it was your 101th post prod that did it for me yesterday!

Suj - :) I can't wait to have Nino go as crazy as bookfairs as I did when I was young!

chox - Tons of Eric Carle! We already had a few (They're on the must-have list that Nino's teacher armed us with), I picked up Tiny Seed, Draw me a Star, Where's my Cat, The very quiet cricket, and Nino's favourite, the very hungry caterpillar. And I've ordered the Gerald Durell books you so generously spoke about from the in-laws who're in the US right now. I also picked up a beautiful anthology of Indian writing for young people (It has stories from paro anand and mahashweta devi to begin with, omg), compiled by maya dalal. I immediately thought of you and n3.

Grasshopper - god, getting him to write or finish his 'number chores' is such a pain, M, I'm going nuts.

Sands - Nino's Dad is all for me buying books, as long as he doesn't have to tag along! And oh yes, his favourite remains cookery books.

VJ - Geetaben's a darling: she lovingly arranged all the new books the next day, handed me a dozen old ones and said, put them away to do the 'rotate' thing you do!

Swati - I'm going again on Wednesday, can I bag you some?

Sole - acutally Nino usually falls over books, so this was a surprise. how have you been?

sole said...

Oh..NM, I didn't mean Nino in my comment..I meant the adults :-)Kids are always excused ;-)

I've been good..thanks for asking..
Was wondering where you were hiding with no posts!!

nitya said...

Hey, you are going to read Gerald D? One of my oldest favourites! Enjoy.
Love to Nino!

dipali said...

My sympathies. But I guess everyone else had (hard to believe where books are concerned but....)other things on their minds:(

maidinmalaysia said...

i always say -- the bookfair and dozens of books later, you are perfectly armed to bring your loot heavily down the head of those who express any emotion short of "deep empathetic happiness"

iz said...

Hehe! Thankfully you have a blog where sympathetic readers want to know which books you bought!

choxbox said...

honoured that you thought of us! pls to give details of the book.

and if nino likes the hungry caterpillar - check these:

and this -
(we were gifted the puzzle by a friend and is loved as much as the book)

ra said...

well the pleasure's always in gloating over them later :)

you get gerald d in bombay too.

AD said...

awww i totally empathize with you !!
really! :)

been ages i dropped in here!

nitya said...

Hi NM, How are things?