Mission Delhi – Anusha S, Bahrisons Booksellers, Galleria Market
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
In real life, it is almost unthinkable to come across a person walking out straight from the pages of a classic novel.
But here’s one of literature’s greatest characters, casually stepping inside the Bahrisons Booksellers bookshop in Gurgaon’s Galleria Market. The lady is in a kind of getup that anybody will instinctively relate to Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov’s tragic heroine in the famous novel of that name. She is in a frock in which the teenaged Lolita wouldn’t have looked out of place. By clipping two butterfly cloth-patches on to her metallic-grey backpack, she also seems to be celebrating Nabokov’s celebrated reputation as a butterfly illustrator.
Anusha S is thrilled to discover shades of Nabokov in her. “He’s my most favorite author!” The lady exclaims, her face beaming in delight. Not only this, her most favorite happen to be… well, you guess it!
“I’ve read Lolita at least 4-5 times…. the first time was in Bombay when I was 23.”
Anusha is now 30. A native of Coimbatore,Tamil Nadu, she has been living in the capital for a year.
Turning around slightly, the Nabokov reader shows her backpack’s butterflies, laughing. “I love embellishing things to make them personal.”
Flaunting her many finger rings—one of them of “wood resin work”—she gushes, “I do my entire accessory shopping online.” Justly so, for Anusha works in digital marketing.
Now caught red-handed in an old-fashioned brick-and-mortar store, she chuckles at the irony.
Fiddling with her “Coca Cola” ear danglers, the Lolita fan explains her attachment to a novel once thought so obscene that it was banned in France and England. “Nabokov took a delicate, sensitive, crass concept and turned it around into a work of beautiful prose.”
After hanging around a bit and purchasing a book, Anusha exits the store. That same instant, Lolita too vanishes from the real world, and goes back to where she belongs—-the world of fiction.
[This is the 165th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
The Nabokov girl