March Book Haul

My self-imposed book buying ban came to a crashing halt in March. It all started with going in to my local bookstore to redeem a gift voucher. I went in with the noblest of intentions, and ended up spending more than the voucher was worth.


From Kitab Khana, Mumbai

Then of course, I went on a trip to celebrate my birthday, which is always a dangerous proposition. I love visiting new bookstores when I’m away from home and almost always manage to spot something I need. The only way to remedy this problem is to merely peek at the books in a detached manner and just admire the store as a physical space. (Not going to the stores is not an option). But I happened to visit the first bookstore in Bangalore with friends who shamelessly encouraged breaking my ban. “Oh, come on! You have to buy that book,” they said. And, well, I did. Along with four others.


From Blossom Book House, Bangalore

The actual birthday was spent in wonderful Fort Kochi, which is a ridiculously tiny corner of Kerala but still manages to support three independent bookstores. Three! I think very highly of a place that takes its books seriously. So of course I had to visit all three stores. And of course I had to buy books from every one. What better souvenir than a book right? Or, as the case turned out to be, six books.


From Walton’s Book Shop, Fort Kochi


From Idiom Bookshop, Fort Kochi


From Kochi Books, Fort Kochi

Then it was back to Bangalore where I dropped by a bookstore recommended by a friend. Only to look, you understand. With absolutely no intention of buying anything. But then I stumbled upon something that is notoriously difficult to find in bookstores – a collection of Charles Bukowski’s poetry. His prose is easier to find, but I’ve been hunting for a poetry book, any poetry book by him since 3 years. And there it was! Sitting inconspicuously on a shelf. So I added three more books for good measure, ended up having an hour-long conversation with the delightful owner and walked out with a far emptier wallet, a guilty heart but a spring in my step.


From Bookstop, Bangalore

And then, of course, came the books that were very kindly gifted to me.



I know this entire post makes me sound like a hopeless addict. But would an addict be able to stave off the urge to buy books for two whole months?*

*Quite possibly. I’m trying abstinence now.


Where I Was Reading: New Year’s Eve Edition

I brought in the new year at a little-known beach in southern Maharashtra.

I mostly bummed on the sand and read (few visitors meant that it began to feel like a private beach), but I also managed to fit in walks through quiet village lanes, scuba diving to visit the fishes underwater, a visit to a sea fort, a sprained ankle (someone yelled “Look, dolphins!” and I did; nobody yelled “Look, stairs!” so I didn’t), a bonfire on the beach and dancing to stolen music.

Malvan 099Kolamb Beach in the wee hours of the morning where I followed dogs, hunted sunrises, sang entirely wrong lyrics in the water, played badminton very badly, helped build an epic sandcastle and read, read, read.

Malvan 131What the locals call Tsunami Island off the coast of Deobagh Beach. While the family we were with went off to do a series of water sports, I walked around the circumference of this miniature island (it took me a grand total of ten minutes), before settling down to read. This piece of land only came to exist 10 years ago as a result of the 2004 tsunami.

Malvan 206Sindhudurg Fort is the first fortress I’ve visited that wasn’t set atop a hill. As the neighbour at my homestay explained, when the name has the word durg in it, it means it’s a sea fort, while the suffix of gad signifies a hill fort.

What I was reading

Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal

land of the seven rivers

In an interesting turn of events, on the last day of my holiday, I discovered that my mother was convinced that our room in the homestay was haunted. So there’s that.