The Delhi Walla Books – They Are Not Enough
Reflections at the Midland bookstore, South Extension-I.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The other day I met a friend in Lodhi Garden. She remarked on my unkempt hair. I said, “Who cares! I’m a bloody author of four books!”
That same evening I went to the Midland bookstore in South Extension-I. I’m regular there but the owner has never ever chatted to me. At the most, he would nod at me before getting on with his business. Yesterday, however, he did talk (Even the owner’s son shook hands with me!).
Bookseller: You must give me a part of the loot.
Bookseller: We are really selling your books.
Me: Oh, oh. So, are they selling well?
Bookseller: Selling like hot cakes. Dilliwalla are a few of the best books we got this year.
Me: Wow, I’m so glad. I worked really hard.
Bookseller: See, they’re on our counter.
Me: Yes. But what sorts of people are buying my books?
Bookseller: Almost everyone.
Me: No, I mean some friends had warned that only goras would like these books.
Bookseller: Nowadays, goras have no money. It’s mostly Indians.
Me: Ah, I see. But you know, it’s so surprising. No newspaper or magazine wrote about the books and yet they are doing so well.
Bookseller: A good thing always works.
I know, I know. It is cheap to praise your own work. But somebody has to do it. The books are a success. But now, when I look at them, they do not set my heart on fire. Yesterday, for the first time, I did not carry them in my shoulder bag.
No misunderstandings please. The books are great and I would have loved them even if I weren’t their author. But you can’t live the rest of your life on your past accomplishments. The Delhi Walla series is history. The world that I see in Delhi could fill up an entire bookshelf. Four books are nothing. I must go deeper into the lives of Delhiwallas. It is high time to write a new book.
My new friend, Midland bookstore, South Extension-I
Just above Khushwant Singh, Midland bookstore, South Extension-I
Among the VIPs, Midland bookstore, South Extension-I
The God of Small Things, South Extension-I
A beautiful Delhi moment in Lodhi Garden