By Akash Shukla
Book fair is a paradise for avid readers; for others it could be several different things. Lucknow is a funny town. It celebrates contradictions instead of diversity. This City of Nawabs shuts its eyes on LANDMARK and revels annually on a thematic Book Fair. What an irony! We walk too much. We buy too less. The last day of book fair locked horns with Gujrati Garba in the opposite lawns and down went public’s pseudo love for books as if everyone was waiting for a desperate counterpart. Hypocrites as we are, a mere digression lures us away from the titles. The tracing book lovers sulked in the corners while music enveloped all and sundry. If this wasn’t domineering enough of a trend over the other, the disco lights and a crystal ball coupled with exclusive tickets left no stones unturned to overcast the fledgling reading cult.
While Shaan-e-Awadh was grappling with ever-changing curiosities of the multitude, a guy tottered next to a girl merely in care and barely for books. When she nosedived in books, he realized he was wading through her sinkable eyes. Even inanimate books blew saxophones and shabby roughnecks appeared minstrels. This voodoo on a guy is like an unadvertised sale. It’s there but no one would ever know; even the doll-face would stay clueless. Magically meandering and charmingly smitten, the guy says, “May I hold your bag please?” Dazed and amazed, she struggled with a ‘no’ but all that spurted was a confused smile. Dimwit of a guy confused the gesture, held the cross-bag as if he held her. Stupidly they smiled for different reasons and got lost in the books; interestingly it ensued a role play; she turned reader and he turned pretender. Books were her love while she was his.
The author had a Sidney Sheldon in his hand. He saw this. Felt it. Tossed the murky emotional Sheldon ending for an ephemeral romance and the author’s title was lost among many others for a reason even unknown to him. Fleeting joy at its best, the lover boy switched glances between her and the ticking clock. His watch kept telling him that he had to teach. He had to leave. With barely five minutes at hand, the romance continued to melt from his face. The seemingly-timeless book fair stood still. Frozen in time, he looked while she did not; Diving deep into her face, time had come to retrace. Pining for the stay, he just could not. The never-to-be couple had parted. The author saw an unpublished romance; the ignorant titles at the book fair missed it all.