City Library – Retired Diplomat TCA Raghavan’s Books, CR Park
A vanishing world.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Delhi Walla kinda knows what diplomats do for a living.
But what happens after they retire?
In the case of TCA Raghavan, he’s managed to write two books so far. But despairs about his bookshelves. They’re crammed to the gills. Thousands of books.
A nice problem, perhaps, but a dilemma that forever haunts book hoarders.
“I really did severely cull my books when we moved here,” explains Mr Raghavan, who’s last been High Commissioner to Pakistan. “I’ve made an effort and have even switched to Kindle:”
Going digital evidently isn’t solving the problem at all. His wife Ranjana Sengupta is a publishing house editor who naturally has a sizeable book collection of her own, here in their pleasant South Delhi residence in CR Park. Not to mention two bookish daughters.
Their drawing room offers the kind of books you’d probably want to read more or less immediately, or at least touch them. An old collector’s edition of Tagore’s poetry looks very tempting. Then there’s that smallish desk just beside the window. But that’s not where the former diplomat is writing yet another book. That’s his wife’s writing spot.
Ranjana now joins us and gracefully sinks into a comfy sofa. I half-expected a literary conversation, but instead the couple are actively dealing with a neighbourhood theft. The bicycle owned by their press walla was stolen yesterday, along with their clothes they had given to be ironed.
The conversation gets animated, exploring various avenues of inquiry. My proffered suggestions don’t get anybody anywhere.
At length I take my leave, feeling rather like a failed detective, while also making a mental note that the diplomat’s library had no Sherlock Holmes.