I couldn’t sleep. Woke up in just 5 hours and have been unable to close my eyes and my mind. The last nine days have snapped by leaving me with a gale of thoughts and images. Where do I begin? How do sum it up? No, I am still caught in the frenzy. I force myself. Think. Try to put it down in once sentence. I try harder now. And I come up with – Mumbai needed this –the book fair.
Surely, the enchantment runs deep. Else, why would people come braving merciless schedules and obnoxious traffic to ‘browse’ through book stalls? Why else would Mumbai give us an encouraging thumbs-up for a humble effort — of getting books back into everybody’s lives? — thoughts get clearer now…
Purists will accuse that it was a cultural extravaganza in the name of a book fair. I say, Yes. Don’t you need baits when you are scheming to entice? Don’t people have enough and more distractions today to spend an evening? Why. The biggest tamasha in the Indian calendar (biggest only after our general elections, of course), IPL, is on. Malls, Movies, Sales – there’s no dearth of ‘recreational activities’ in our Maximum City, is there?
Why would people then come in for just books which can be bought from the nearest Crossword, Landmark, or better still, downloaded? Hence, an array of cultural and literary activities. Not to forget, the bonanza that was lined-up for kids. The Fair then, had to be inclusive. How else could we tear you away from your everyday schedules, TV and Cricket?
Turning to my fellow Spandan members I say — It will be clichéd to use that famous line, “One small step and a giant leap for …”. But, ain’t it so appropriate here? Aren’t we all so infused with confidence and determination? Haven’t we all had our share of learnings, both individually and collectively as a team? Aren’t we all so proud that we have been able to showcase to this city that you still love books, your soil, your dance, your music? Haven’t we been able to stir their minds on issues of national importance? Haven’t we given a platform to many to exhibit their skills, be it book launches, CD launches, performing arts? Haven’t we already resolved that ‘next year’s gonna be bigger’?
Coming back to my first thought then – Mumbai needed a book fair, it got one. What now? It needs to be a permanent fixture in Mumbai’s literary and cultural calendar. It needs to be bigger. It needs to go from great to even greater.
Amen, to the thought.
(Photos: Courtesy ace photographer, Mukesh Trivedi — Mukesh, I have taken liberally from your thousand clicks. What captures! You rock!!)
Note: The views expressed in this blog are solely my own, and need not necessarily reflect that of Spandan’s, the organisation that brought about the Fair and of which I am a proud member)