My earliest memories of a book fair dates back to the late 80s. In Kolkata almost every alternate year during our winter vacations, the ‘Boi Mela’ was a must-visit. Trotting along with a Mesho (Uncle) or cousin, taking the metro (of course Kolkata had the metros even in those days!!) and after meandering through the serpentine queues, one would enter the venue only to be taken aback by the sheer scale of the fair. For the young girl from the small and quiet Shillong, it would be like walking in a maze – there were stalls from almost every corner of the world. I remember being struck by a stall that read ‘Africa’ – books from the desert country? Wow!!
Circa 2013. Am no longer the naïve, wonder-struck girl I used to be – post-liberalisation, retail boom, access to international standard gizmos and lifestyle products and the country’s overall economic progress has made everybody ‘smart’, nay ‘cool’, these days. There are large bookstores like Landmark, Crossword, Oxford, at malls, even airports. There are online book-stores too – order a book on a website, pay for it and it will be delivered to your home. Wah re technology and e-commerce!!! And then there is of course Kindle – any book to be ever written in your fingertips any time!!
Why then, dear Heart, am I so excited about a Book Fair coming to Mumbai (Mumbai Book Fair), the city where I live now? Is it nostalgia? Or is it that I want to be spoilt for choice? Guess, it is both!! A 9-day book fair is surely going to pack enough moments to re-live my girl-hood years, and also give me the opportunity to rummage through rows and stacks of books, hold them in my hands, turn them over, flip through them, read the synopsis, read about the author and read about what reviewers had to say, and then decide whether to buy it or not. Oh, how romantic!! Am excited like a child!!!
But most importantly, I want to go to the fair for my little daughter. A book-lover and story-lover herself, not to mention her skills in ‘story-telling’, I want to show her what a Book Fair is. The other day when I told her about it, she said, “so book-fair is like a big book-store where you can buy books?” (emphasising the word ‘big’ in a way that it really sounded big!) I replied, “Sort of. You will see”.
For the inquisitive soul this Mumbai Book Fair then; for the one who resorts to books for nourishment; for the one who is sparked by books; But most importantly, for the one who still has the child within himself, the Mumbai Book Fair; and for the one who has a child to be introduced to the wonderland that is books, this Mumbai Book Fair.
See you there!
(The Mumbai Book Fair is scheduled from 13th April to 21st April at the Hiranandani Gardens, Powai. Timings — 12pm to 10.30 pm during the days of the fair. for more details, check the Facebook page of Mumbai Book Fair — https://www.facebook.com/MumbaiBookFair)