The old bookshop complex in Chennai.

It is still popularly remembered by its old association with the heritage ‘Moore Market’ complex that used to abut Chennai Railway Station. The book vendors have moved on and occupied a building called ‘Lily Pond Complex’ that is just next door but reminds one of godown space and is poorly maintained.

And yet it is conveniently located near the Railway Station and for ardent book lovers the chance discovery of old favourites, not readily available otherwise, is certainly an incentive. It is interesting to note that the vendors may not be well read themselves but have developed a working knowledge of popular authors and book titles. Add to it the option to bargain a bit and one can see why some people don’t mind the ambience and go about as ‘business as usual’ to pick up their books.

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The shops tend to specialize in providing books for Medicine, Engineering, Computers followed by books for Entrance Exams and these form the bulk of their transactions. So very few shops cater to customers looking for popular fiction. You are quickly re-directed to one such option. I met a ‘father-and-son’ duo in one of them and rather falteringly queried, ‘You have any P D James novels?’ There was a good reason to be less than hopeful to elicit a prompt response – unlike the book wallahs in the stretch outside Flora Fountain near Churchgate station in Mumbai, my past experience in Chennai had not been all that encouraging. He nodded and went inside to search his collection.

Continue reading “The old bookshop complex in Chennai.”


Review of Somerset Maugham’s Mrs Craddock.

Mrs Craddock was one of the early novels written by Maugham at the beginning of the 20th Century. The theme was certainly progressive given the conservative Victorian social milieu that was prevalent. Feminism and women’s liberation movement were unknown and the massive ‘middle-class’ revolution had not caught on.  

Mrs. Craddock                                                                            Image Courtesy – Flickr

Aristocracy still prevailed in a manner wherein the privileged led indolent and unproductive lives like a Lily of the field – the prerogative of the idle rich who did not toil and labour.  Continue reading “Review of Somerset Maugham’s Mrs Craddock.”

No place for chivalry.

Beautiful girl. Image courtesy of Aleks Melnik /
Beautiful girl.
Image courtesy of Aleks Melnik /

I do most of my local travel by my cycle and on occasions have gone as far as Pimpri-Chinchwad by it. So I am not much used to travelling by the bus.

But I happened to travel once recently when this incident happened. I went to the Pune station to catch a bus to Vishrantwadi as I was to visit by brother. A long and boring wait followed before I was seated in the bus and travelling. The bus never did reach its peak speed, for no sooner had it left one stop that it reached another. And at each stop people poured in and soon enough there were many standees. Continue reading “No place for chivalry.”

Joy rides on the cycle

'Young cyclist'. Image courtesy of arztsamui /
‘Young cyclist’.
Image courtesy of arztsamui /

The cycle repair shop was a kilometer away from my home, but then it was the only shop I could rely on. Hence when it came to changing my cycle’s tyre, there was no choice but to visit that shop. The shop was well-known and my word being a bit tedious, I had to wait for a while to have it attended to. The kind proprietor offered me a seat. Soon I was busy admiring the nature scene around me. Continue reading “Joy rides on the cycle”

‘Oh, my friend!’

Spades! Image courtesy of foto76 /
Image courtesy of foto76 /

All of us can cite names of friends who regard us with great affection but not many can give an instance of a friend who holds one in contempt.

I can! I know a girl of great charm and refinement who viewed me as the greatest savage let loose on the streets. And yet our chats were all the more friendly and gay; so gay that I realized that it was just a veneer of cordiality beneath which she hid her great distaste for me. Continue reading “‘Oh, my friend!’”

Father and Son

'Father and Son'! Image courtesy of vectorolie /
‘Father and Son’!
Image courtesy of vectorolie /

Scene : The living room of a flat in the suburbs of a megapolis. The curtains are drawn across the windows and a man in his mid-forties is seated. A young lad – his son, about 15 years of age, enters.

Father: “Why did you take my calculator?”

Son: “Oh dad, I had to do my Maths homework.”

Father: “But you are not supposed to use it. You shouldn’t be at the mercy of these modern gizmos …” Continue reading “Father and Son”

‘A Story With A Difference’

Set of kitchen knives! Image courtesy of Vlado /
Set of kitchen knives!
Image courtesy of Vlado /

“Once Anton Chekhov”, I said to my chum, “told his friend that a good writer just has to see an object and he should be able to write a story about it. His friend was skeptical about it and challenged Chekhov to invent a story about a table knife (they were at a restaurant). Chekhov responded with a masterpiece to prove his point.”

My friend too was interested and asked me, “Could you do it too? I mean, I will give you an idea and you can make a story about it.” Continue reading “‘A Story With A Difference’”

‘The ad as an icon’

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

“If advertisements are anything to go by, the average Indian consumer is just one ‘bright-and-white’ shirt away from a job opportunity of a lifetime, and a good soap is all he needs to improve his personality.”

“Till recently it was believed that you couldn’t fool all the people all the time. I am happy to announce that we have now achieved a breakthrough in that …” This was written below a Laxman cartoon depicting a typical strategy meeting in progress. And instantly my mind went to the field of advertising. Really , it must have been these blokes who succeeded in evolving this inchoate theory. Their market research must have indicated that the average Indian consumer is a stupid sub-human baboon whose IQ averages around zero. Further he lacks the faculty of rational thought and has the herd mentality which is receptive to propaganda. Continue reading “‘The ad as an icon’”

“When the bubble bursts …”

'Mr. Perfect!' Image courtesy of Master isolated images /
‘Mr. Perfect!’
Image courtesy of Master isolated images /

Mr Perfect! I suppose you have met a countable few in your life, like I did. They are the ones who are always right, they can do no wrong and can give you a quiet smile which says, ‘I told you so…’ just after you have had an embarrassing encounter. They are neither shy nor nervous. And they never seem to have a bad day. Whatever they do, it works out well. They also seem to have an amazing run of good luck and success. Continue reading ““When the bubble bursts …””

‘Ouch …of Dog Bites and Injections!’

Cute Dogs! Image courtesy of khunaspix /
Cute Dogs!
Image courtesy of khunaspix /

It was on the 26th of October last year that a dog bit me! I may have caught a reader napping but then the dog took me by surprise too. It is a dog’s world really. I was walking along, having just finished my college exams and looking forward to a relaxing evening, when the dog latched on to my left leg as if it were a juicy bone. Instinctively, I warded it off by hitting it with my bag. Continue reading “‘Ouch …of Dog Bites and Injections!’”