Rukavat Ke Liye Khed Hai

…Kitabkhana may be back up this weekend, depending on the generosity of Delhi-s stone-hearted linesmen. Until then, this is what the Babu is doing:

1)unpacking cartons and cartons and bloody endless cartons of books that he packed up just a few weeks ago. This is a bit like carefully giftwrapping your own presents a week before Xmas and making surprised ooh-aah noises on Baby Jesus’ birthday when you open them.

2) trying to figure out why he has been carting, from one rented house to another for the better part of a decade, ugly crystal swans that look like ostriches, eight casserole lids, dishes missing, and some old shoes that he thinks belonged to the owner of the first house he ever rented. (Judging by the shoes, the owner was a giant with serious fungal issues and a habit of depositing snot–we hope it was snot–on the soles of said footwear.)

3) meeting Putu the Cat, Jabberwock and the Griffin and reflecting smugly that he is technically the only Human among this gang of strange creatures.

4) reading Tokyo Cancelled with increasing admiration, and Vikas Swarup’s Q&A with just the opposite.

5) and sitting in a cybercafe done up in hostel-toilet blue walls, Kali calendars and plastic hibiscuses (hibisci? someone enlighten me) wondering why he always manages to get the machine that’s totally screwed because some pervert downloaded all too freely from porn sites without figuring that they dump spyware in bucketloads on creeps. Especially stupid creeps.

The Babu needs to leave now. He has just realised that the purple plastic hibiscus garlands above his computer are equipped with miniature lime green lightbulbs shaped like stamens, and that the owner of the cybercafe intends to switch them on now. He intends to not be here to see what lime-green, red and purple look like against the background of blue walls already illuminated by dubious tubelights. Until Saturday, go read Don Quixote. It’s the man of La Mancha’s four hundredth anniversary this week.

5 comments

  1. I feel your pain. Am faced with the unenviable prospect of — in less than a fortnight — moving house and city myself. Have taken to waking up at unearthly hours are gazing moodily at shelves of books that, the packing agent cheerily assures me, will take 40 cartons to fit into. This morning, briefly toyed with the idea of giving away armfuls of books to reduce the number of cartons required. Then, better sense prevailed. So they’re all coming with me: the tattered Concise Oxford Dictionary, broken-spined Corgi paperbacks of early Philip Roth, musty, crumbling Jaico editions of Nirad Chaudhuri and — but naturally — all those damn volumes purchased in haste and still lying unread. Including (confession time) the Clinton autobiography. Both of them.And don’t even get me started on the CDs…Sanjay

  2. Yow! It’s a terrible thing for us addicts to have to go without our daily (errrrm … make that thrice daily) hit! A pox on Delhi’s cruel, unfeeling linespersons — no, pause that: they’d only become terminally unavailable then — I’ll reduce the curse to a month of sleepless nights.

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