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A visit to the World Book Fair would make you believe all Delhi does is read. On a Monday afternoon, there are queues to enter the OUP stall! Penguin and Random House have a huge combined stall for the first time. Even those luxurious Roli Books coffee-table tomes are flying off the shelves. Kindle Paperwhites (Rs 10,000 after discount) are selling like Amar Chitra Kathas and acks like, well, CCD coffee. Children’s books seem to have replaced self-help ones in popularity. And it’s good to see so many youngsters—the numbers can easily beat a Roadies audition.
An Unequal Luxury
Along with a new publisher, Vikram Seth has shifted to a new house in Delhi’s tony East Nizamuddin. It’s a ‘builder house’ complete with marble floors so shiny that you fear some heel is going to leave a scratch, concealed lighting, German bukharis and futuristic bathrooms (don’t know how half these things work, says Vikram). The study is a giant bookcase. Vikram presses a hidden lever, and whoa!, one of the shelves opens into a secret studio. “Yes, very James Bond,” says Vikram. But the best part is the terrace, with a commanding view of the imposing Khan-e-Khana tomb in front and the hauntingly lit Humayun’s tomb towards the right.
Dance To Pat Boone
The ‘oldest debut author’ Bhaichand Patel’s annual V-Day bash had to be pushed back by a day due to inclement weather. But on a cold evening, the makeshift dance floor on his lawns poured with warmth as the crowd swayed to songs that must have travelled all the way from vinyl to spools to magnetic tape to CDs to pen drives.