City Classifieds – Book Search for Shakespeare

The Delhi walla‘s pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls – Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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I Me Myself

The Delhi Walla needs a special copy.

[Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; picture by Marina Bang]

I’m looking for The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Not just any copy.

I spend most of the day and night walking around in the city, armed with a camera, a notepad and, usually, a book. Unfortunately, when it comes to Will, I could either carry him or handle my camera, not both.

To get rid of this Catch 22 situation, I seek a small paperback edition of the Complete Works. It should ideally be tiny enough to fit into my jeans pocket, light enough for the shoulder bag not to be weighed down by it. The pages must be thin, the font size reasonable.

The Shakespeare editions I have (mostly picked from Daryaganj’s Sunday Book Bazaar) are almost all beautiful but they are either too old or too rare or too delicate or too huge or too pricey to be carried around Delhi’s dusty haze with a certain detachment. While commuting in autos and bluelines, I get worried for Will’s well being as he toss and turn in the shoulder bag.

What I need is not very different from the copies of leather-covered, black-coloured King James Bible I have often spotted in Paharganj’s second hand bookstores. I have also seen those in the hands of Malayali Christians at the Cathedral Church of Redemption in North Avenue. These Bibles might not be designed aesthetically but they are user-friendly: paperback, small size, big fonts, onionskin paper – the entire volume giving a really light feel.

I want such a Shakespeare. So the next time when I’m walking in Mahipalpur or Rohini, and feel an urge for Macbeth or King Lear, I don’t need to look for a place to sit down, unzip my shoulder bag, take out a heavy heartbreakingly beautiful Shakespeare, and sink so deep into the demanding ritual of balancing it, opening it, swooning over it that I ignore the amazing street scenes and miss out on a really good Kodak moment.

The ideal Shakespeare must be ready to suffer abuses and yet remain serviceable. It’s like I’m reading As You Like It in Matia Mahal, suddenly there is a cow coming in a saree, I immediately drop the book, click this amazing sight, and then go back into the book.

If, dear reader, you have such a Shakespeare and don’t mind parting with it or if you have spotted such a Shakespeare at somebody’s place or at some bookstore in Delhi, please let me know at

If you are a Delhiite looking for a book you can’t trace anywhere, please write to The Delhi Walla explaining just why you want that book and he will put it up on this blogsite.