Sunday, March 14, 2010

Books, magazines and some nostalgia

Books, magazines and some nostalgia

Take along plenty of curiosity and deep bags to make the most of the second-hand bookstalls at Balepet this Sunday. Shilpa CB reports

Shilpa CB

Take along plenty of curiosity and deep bags to make the most of the second-hand bookstalls at Balepet this Sunday. Shilpa CB reportsTurn into the small streets of Balepet area near Majestic and you would be introduced to a new kind of pace. No, it's not slower, just different. And on Sundays, thi ngs change again. It's business unusual when Balepet turns into a venue for a grand book fair. The air carries the heady, musty smell of pages of old books and conversation about collectibles. Book lovers descend to make the most of the endless stacks and rows of books and magazines that hit the pavements, shelves, stools, makeshift racks around giant pipal trees, a temple and a police station.
Each season has a different flavour, the vendors say. "In summer, we sell more comics, children's books. When it's time for colleges to reopen, there is a demand for textbooks," says Narasimhamurthy Shivnanjaiah who's followed his uncle L Hanumanthaiah into the business. The uncle had a good 40 years of experience; by that estimate, the tradition of book selling on that pavement near Upparpet police station is at least over 50 years old, he says.
"We put out all we have in our collection on Sundays. The rest of the week, the goods are stashed away in a storehouse," says Prakash Krishnaiah. Of course, it pays to be early. But mind you, not too early. Here, the call of the clock is faint and isn't heeded to. "We come in by about 10 or 10.30 and stay till about 6 in the evening," Krishnaiah says.
Others in the business around the area take it easy too. "I come in whenever I can. It could be 11 am or 1 pm or even 3 pm," says Moham med Mustafa who has a smallish collection in one of the bylanes behind the massive temple in Balepet. "We get magazines about 1-2 months after their shelf life ends. Price depends on the buyer," he says. So if you drive a hard bargain, you could have yourself copious reading material for little money. And dealing with the pleasant-mannered Mustafa would have you returning not just for his wares but also a fix of nostalgia that editions of Tinkle comics and such provide.
A magazine that cost about Rs75 when brand new could be acquired for as little as Rs20-25. Readers' Digests, National Geographic Magazines, curious titles from all over the world on diverse subjects are all up for grabs. Mustafa stocks Urdu, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu books too. So, arrive early, bring along patience, a giant cloth bag to bring back your finds.


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