For the uninitiated, Darya Ganj is where the Sunday Bazaar for books is held in Delhi, every Sunday. After a Friday and a Saturday that had been overcast and breezy, with the occasional relief of rain, Sunday lived up to its name: it was painfully hot, and patience and temper had evaporated. For the most part, bargaining for books was not an option for me.
There was relief in company: Aishwarya and I, joined later by Aditya, (from Bombay, in Gurgaon for a couple of weeks, and is missing Bombay but – gasp! – LIKES DELHI!!!) spent most of the afternoon spotting oddly titled books and books with strange covers. There were also a few conversations:
1. Customer: Autobiography, hain? (Do you have an autobiography?)
Bookseller: Kiski? (whose?)
Customer: Kisi ki bhi (Anybodys)
Bookseller: Kisi ki bhi? (Anybodys?)
Customer: Haan. Koi bhi autobiography dikha do. (Yeah, show me any autobiography)
In the pile I spot the biography of Janis Joplin. Heh.
2. Customer to Bookseller: Bhaiiya, mythology ki book hain? (Do you have a book on mythology?)
I half expected the bookseller to say that he doesn’t have a book on mythology, and would pathology suffice?
3. Old man telling Young Girl (12-13 years old) in Hindi: I’m willing to pay even 300 bucks for this book but only if you will use it.
Young Girl: I will learn how to cook.
Old woman, flipping the pages: Yes. It is a good book. Look, it teaches her how to make a burger. (pronounced burr-gurr)
Young Girl: I will learn how to make a burger.
(looks up expectantly)
Old man: But you will use it, na?
The Young Girl nods. Smiles.
I sneak a peek at the book – it’s a childrens cookbook in German.
Aishwarya also went through several books on household maintenance tips (:P. Okay, she just spotted two) and I picked up 5 Nora Roberts books THAT MY SISTER HAD ASKED ME TO BUY FOR HER.
Books that I bought for myself (the Nora Roberts books were for my sister, and don’t you forget that):
Tom Holt: Faust Among Equals
Jeanette Winterson: Sexing the Cherry (Aishwarya’s recco)
Steve Martin: Pure Drivel
Elmore Leonard: Be Cool (sequel to Get Shorty)
Ogden Nash: Bed Riddance
The Playboy Book of Humour and Satire
Douglas Adams: The Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy
C.S. Lewis: The Screwtape Letters
Evelyn Waugh: A Handful of Dust
Tim Dorsey: Triggerfish Twist
Sartre: Existentialism and Human Emotions
Terry Pratchett: The Color of Magic
Richard Hooker and William E.Butterworth: M*A*S*H Goes to Las Vegas
Woody Allen: Without Feathers
Missed a couple that Aishwarya picked up before me. Particularly – The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon. My reflexes aren’t what they used to be – I need more practice at buying books from Darya Ganj. Heh.
Of the books bought yesterday, I’ve randomly read poems from Ogden Nash’s Bed Riddance. Pert is a word that comes to mind. Then I switch back to Barbarians at the Gate, if only particularly because of the suspense that is being built up, and you’re left dreading the worst. Okay, non-fiction can be fun.