Saturday, March 21, 2009

A day beautifully spent!

Some days are memorable, some forgettable, some transcend these simple categorisations and enter a different realm altogether. There are days when everything seems oddly poetic; something nearing perfection and exceeding expectations that, whoever one talks to and whatever one does, begins to get tinged with a touch of rare and simple beauty. Today was one such day...

Gopal had invited us to his house opposite the BTM lake. It was nothing formal; just the promises of Samosas and an evening of boating. I went a little early to find him shopping for curd and milk. I found his cook getting ready to prepare some Samosas. We talked about work for a while and just when it was getting boring, Niranjan, Saurabh, Rupesh and Devesh joined us.

A simple bachleor's dwelling, the place gave the feel of a maturing gentleman's abode. We received the head cook who gave precious culinary instructions before disappearing. Once the cook left, We attacked the Kitchen with a zeal, that is characteristic of gaining some understanding of a place, that holds much charm in its simplicity.

Saurabh and Gopal set about preparing more Samosas while eveybody wanted to pose either stirring the oil in the pan or peeling the onions. It is the tender joy of accomplishment that is seen in the smiles here. Rupesh explored the PC for songs and movies. We even attempted to dance funnily for the RDB track unable to restrain ourselves.

For lunch we had the traditional north Indian dish - Kadhi - with a mixture of potato, onion and tomato. The papad and Aam ka Achar were the other delicacies! All along, khatta-meetha, a movie that had dollops of humor and warmth was the entertainer. It made us realize that, there is a yearning within us for such movies which sadly, are not made anymore.

When we were drifting to sleep, the movie ended and we had the forgotten dessert - Gulab Jamuns. When we stepped out, a cloudy evening greeted us and the BTM park close to the lake was getting its evening visitors - the young and the restless crowd looking for some semblance of nature in a concrete jungle. The water wasn't clean and throughout the boat ride, the conversation centred around how couples try to steal moments of privacy in parks. There was much teasing and good hearted humor. It was a saturday spent in a most lovely fashion and one that, I'll remember for a long time.

Indeed, days, when nothing but happiness and a sense of camaraderie and bonhmie prevail - they are a rarity in an age of competitive oneupmanship.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reflections on the closure of Premier bookshop

I came to know that Premier book shop has closed in Bangalore through this article in THE HINDU magazine by Ramachandra Guha. Having written about the shop earlier and having been there many a time after learning about it, I feel that it’s a loss for all book lovers in Bangalore.

The clutter and the disorder evident at the outset, as one entered that shop and the sheer variety of books within that space will always stay with me. Like an addiction one gets used to, I have felt that time and space lose all meaning inside a good bookshop.

Book lovers are a breed fast disappearing due to new age distractions in the form of Internet and an excessive focus on other supposedly more rewarding hobbies. To be able to browse through old and new books in all their imposing glory, at leisure, is a delight that sadly a dwindling number of youth understand today. It has become fashionable and indeed in some cases consequently respectable to pronounce the possession of the latest best seller.

As a hobby, reading has exposed me to worlds far and near, emotions inexplicable and strangely unfathomable, it has helped me understand myself better and expanded my heart to accommodate and grasp the feelings of my fellow human beings. When one reads about the tragedies of the poverty-stricken, the grief of the estranged, the joy of the adventurer, the passion and longing of the lovers, one has to admit that there is a sense of the broadening of the spirit; a vision of the shackles destroyed and conquered.

If such is the joy experienced by an ardent lover of books, imagine the happiness, a person like Mr. TS Shanbhag would have felt loving his shop with such fervor and facilitating the transfer of nuggets of Wisdom to the ownership of a largely appreciating bunch of people.