I have always fallen for books – large, coffee table books – but especially those with lots of photographs. Of late, I have started collecting India-specific books – history, culture, arts, and lots of pictures.
So it wasn’t surprising I ended up at this roadside books bazaar in Fort, Mumbai when I was there last year.
Thanks to a very generous friend, we cabbed all the way from Vile Parle in driving rain to reach this corner near the majestic Victoria Terminus and the Bombay High Court, only to find the stalls all covered up.
But as luck would have it, the heavens decided to give themselves a break and the rain stopped and off came the heavy tarpaulins and plastic sheets to reveal what I regard as a treasure trove for any book lover.
Oh, yes, a majority of the publications there were not up my street but some were priceless.
I picked up half a dozen and then narrowed down to around eight, knowing well there would be a scene at the airport on the way back with all that excess baggage.
Coming back to the books bazaar, it’s like no other place I’ve seen. yes, College Street in Kolkata, and the famous Sunday Bazaar at Delhi’s Red Fort come close but the sheer numbers of great (and sometimes rare) publications are mind-boggling. One feels like picking up everything one likes – and that translates to a lot!
The best part is the bargain prices. I thought I had a deal when I paid around $100 for eight books that would have cost me three times as much online and four to five times at a regular book store.
I did promise myself I’d return, if only to buy books, but have not got a chance since then. I’m sure I’ll make it soon because, like drugs, books are an addiction and one can go to any lengths to keep the habit going!