Now and Then.

Who the...?

Harendra Kapur.
Kyra Mathews.
Tejas Menon.

My favourite part of London is how almost everyday is a burst of bibliomaniac joy.

Its the small stuff, like having manic 10 hour classes, and running home to grab a few hours of shut-eye before another class at 8pm, only to be kept awake by doors slamming and loud laughing from the kitchen, only to slam my door open to lose my temper at whomever I see first, to find that a flatmate has wedged a whole pile of packages from Amazon under my door. For me, me, me.

Its the big stuff, like trudging sleepily in the rain in my pajama's to get some coffee, only to find my tattered copy of "Howl" that I'd given up tearfully for lost, placed next to the coffee machine, with a post-it saying, "I dont know which building you're in, but I see you hovering around here all the time, so I thought this would be the best place to return it. I hope you actually find this, and if you're not you, then sod off, this doesn't belong to you"

And then its the truly perfect stuff, like becoming an accidental and active participant of BookCrossing.

I'd heard of BookCrossing in one of my first Publishing classes, where 60-odd book geeks including myself, gathered to talk about how reading is a community - a dying community in some respects, but for those who love to read, an exciting community nonetheless.

BookCrossing, essentially, is the "the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise." I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard of, and it gave me, and the other people sitting around me, goosebumps just thinking about it. We all told our professor, that it sounded almost too good to be true, and it was probably just one of those things, like the Tooth Fairy, who you truly believe is real, just because you want to believe it, when deepdown, you know its a parent who is the real Tooth Fairy. She nodded wisely, and said, "Wait and see, you won't see it coming"

And then, a few days ago, I got onto a bus and sat on a book. I hardly ever do this, since books are my personal God and religion, and well, you don't normally sit on your God. When I got up, it was a much worn copy of "The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop", which is one of those books you've always thought you should read, but it was either out of stock, or too expensive, and along the journey of all the other books you've wanted painfully, you sort of pushed it at the back of your mind. On the book, was a note stapled to the cover, "Read this and pass it on" and on the title page, were the initials of all the people who'd read it and the dates they'd found it.

I forgot I had a tottering pile of textbooks to wade through by the next day, forgot that I had groceries to buy, food to cook, laundry to do, trash to take out. I forgot social commitments and Skype dates. I forgot that it was raining and that my heater wasn't working and I was, to put it mildly, freezing. I forgot about Stoner Sam and his Stonery Sammy ways. I had been crossed with a book and nothing else mattered.

I passed it on last night. I left it on a table at the cafe I usually frequent. Before I left, the proprietor grinned at me and said, "You've picked prime property there, honey. That book knows that table well"

That book, knows more people and places than I do. And Im grateful I got to know it, and that it has KM 4-10-2010 permanently embedded in its pages.

Note: A very Appy Birday to the old man of the blog, Harry from WetheUs and well, everyone who reads us etc.

4 responses to "my book, your book, our book."

  1. =)

    I want to leave it at just the smiley face, because I'm just really glad Wethe has a new post. But I think I should add that I had goosepimples by the end of it. I'm so glad comeback became with such a naice post.

    Mehvs

  2. Thank you.

    Kyra

  3. This be a nice insightful peek into the world of book lovers. Now, I don't be knowin books, but I be knowin movies. And this reminds me a lot of the Pay It Forward mantra. In this case, it's find a book that you really like and then leave it someplace so somebody else in the world can discover it. I loved the note you found too, especially the end of it.

    Oh and also in ref to pay it forward, the date of Abhishek and Debby went very well.

    Retro Man

  4. Thanks you muchly :)
    I hadnt thought of Bookcrossing in context to Pay it Forward. Tres stupide of me but, since its so obvious.
    I love the idea of Paying it Forward expanding horizons though; with literature, and even with love and relationships.

    Kyra

The All of us.

The All of us.