Saturday, December 17, 2022



This August Ravi shared an article ‘The value of owning more books than you can read’ with a caption ‘Surdy, your secret is out. You have tsundoku!’

It started in June though.

When he asked, “Have you heard of Ved Mehta?” To my negative reply he shared few articles including an obituary. Ravi and I were at college together and later we were flatmates during our early working days. In his words, ‘he was blown away by Ved’s story – a blind author who saw India like none other.’

It probably started nearly two decades back.

On the streets of Pune. At the second-hand bookshops of its busy MG & JM roads. With some spare change from the meagre salary of those days. From there to Mumbai and book market of Flora Fountain and then to many other cities and their bookshops (and to the lazy e-commerce of these days).

First it was Three Day Road. Then The Fountainhead. And then there was a third book which I bought a second copy of.

It actually started a few years before Pune.

First semester at college. When I volunteered for hostel library duties. Once every week, after dinner, I walked to the hostel PA system and announced, “Ara Lib is open.” Sometimes I added “come as you are.” Not many came though.

The library running experience came in handy now. After the second copy of that third book, I organised my shelves and piles a bit. It took some time, but I made a list of all the books I had.

Updating and checking that list before buying books is a habit now. After reading about Ved, I went to order some of his books and when I checked the list, Mamaji by Ved Mehta announced its presence on my shelves.

I corrected myself to Ravi – “Sometime in last twenty years I must have read about Ved Mehta or seen a book/book review. Just never got around to reading the book.” And I added, “I typically end up buying way more books than I can read. For now, I am calling the unread books my retirement reading collection.”

Few weeks later I learned the name of this bibliophile malady.

‘Surdy, your secret is out. You have tsundoku!’

#HWR #FDC10 #prompt3

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