There were crowds thronging the Book Fair. Never had a Book Fair taken place in this small town, among hills and pines, in North East India. The people were agog days ahead of the Book Fair. He loved books, their feel and touch. He loved to read too: Thrillers, Detectives, Biographies and Autobiographies. He loved to read poetry, and recite poems. He remembered the Radiant Reader which began his literary journey in school. He remembered Miss Nini reciting a poem, and asking him to recite after her. It was about a sage, a Chinese sage with a long pigtail, so long that it became a conundrum, a sheer mystery to him.
''Mama'' he asked.'' Can I go to the Book Fair, wearing a pigtail?''.
''Don't speak rubbish'' she said gently.
But he wanted to go round and round- in the Book Fair. He did not want to play cricket, marbles, or football, he simply wanted to go to the Book Fair, everyday and be lost in books- didn't matter if he couldn't buy many books. He simply wanted to smell them, go to the stalls and befuddle those in the counter- selling books!
''Do you have anything by Kafka, er- Moravia?''
''What, who?'' someone asked. He smiled, they were not as well informed as him. How could they be? He was the well read intellectual, with eyes peering out of rimmed glasses.
I will immerse myself in books, wallow in them, in my life he asserted.
''Can you give me something on poetry?''
''Yes we have nursery rhymes''.
The fool he thought. He thinks I am a kid. I am forty five, a writer and an intellectual. Why they even call me a scholar and researcher.
Ah, the book fair in his little town.
''Can I launch my book?'' he asked the organizers.
''Sorry Sir, book launches have been finalized?''
How can book launches be finalized? A book is always on my mind, the written word hovers like a behemoth. His ambition was to be a writer.
There were empty stalls in the Book Fair.
And somewhere on a platform he was reciting poetry.
To - Nobody.