He was new to the place; with hundreds of new faces around, he not only felt new, but also out of place. Still he braced himself for what was ahead in store. With each passing day, he became familiar with the new faces. Soon there would be someone to greet him, smile at him, and stop by to ask, ‘had lunch?’ ‘Do you have class now?’ ‘Nice shirt yaar’, ‘Want to have chai?’ Casual acquaintances do happen this way in a new place.
But still there were few people, who do not need such mere casual niceties. But there was something else; Some other people who took him to them. Kevin, The Great Dane Singer, Nagaraj, Swami, Oliver Twist, Range, Henry, Kalyani, Robert Langdon, Jamie Sullivan, Sparks, Jayakanthan, Harry Potter, Erma Bombeck.
And not to forget Alvin, the cute kid, who lost his family on a Christmas Eve. It was Alvin, who showed a different him to others. People by then knew that he was a story teller. And she loved to listen to his tales. She knew, he is different and all that mattered to him was the words and what they convey to world.
There was this guy and the first novel he brought for him. “The pleasant Interlude”; and from then it was their ritual- A book for every birthday.
Oh! Not to forget how these three met on a mid-night to be introduced as hard cotter potter-maniacs. Be it the mess, corridors, Stone benches, the front shop. They were never tired to carry a conversation of what would happen to Harry and Hogwarts after the death of the beloved Headmaster Dumbledore.
There were a few girls, who met him almost every evening/weekend to get/share/exchange/rob books from him. Also they loved to call him Krishna, for they believed he has a way with girls, but not just with words alone. Those evening spent in the stone benches and those never ending conversations at the girls hostel gate. Girls, it seems had to face a tough time with their infamous warden because of him, as how someone later testified.
Then came two Psycho Seniors. Remember Kevin, not just a problem child in the case of high school shooting, but someone he held close onto and someone who grew on him. She knew that behind this stupidity and Vainokki, rather Bada Jollu Party, there is a sensitized guy.
Not to forget the beautiful world of Malgudi that R K Narayan weaved with his words and imagination, which brought us together and also the hatred of you for poor Ginny, I have never seen anybody so much drooling for our Harry.
Oh! And then the senior and the sister, with whom he had real tough time, when it comes to make her read books, and had to throw up real emotional tantrums to make her read books. Someone who got him Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the first day and the last day of his life in Coimbatore.
Pray for me Brother, Gone with the Wind, My Days, and a Readers Digest Edition of A Walk to Remember were their last exchanges. Rather the meen curry and Kari meen at Neyyattinkara.
Have you ever sit on a public place reading a book? Well you would. But have you ever snatched a book from someone when they were deeply immersed in it? And then call your friend and show, “Hey Look, Nicholas sparks.” And still forget that there was a guy standing in front of you, mouth wide open and little intrigued. I know someone, who just got lost in North Carolina then.
A junior, who was introduced as a fellow Potterian and a co-Aquarian, someone who shared the equal madness and passion for books. Someone who made him gift her, Tuesdays with Morrie
And then someone else walks into his life, a junior to start with, and then turning out to be a precious little brother he always longed for. They grew together without books. I remember those Friday evenings when he went to see him off. Those old book stalls, where he leisurely spend an hour or two buying half of dozen of books, only to be snatched/robbed, when he is back to campus.
It rarely happens that he gets to read the book first. It was always made sure that the book is circulated among their reading circle; read by everyone and then promptly returned to him.
Such was the life of The Book Broker.
P.S. To all my Book-Lover friends from PSG… Love you folks…
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