Sunday, May 18, 2014

Day Out at Abids Second Hand Book Stores

Vinod is a regular at the second hand book market at Abids. He goes there religiously every Sunday and picks up great books by the dozen which are all posted on his blog. Several years ago I'd made a visit to the market with him and bought many books which I have not read yet. Now I got another chance.
Vinod at the left (with cap) and Raja on the right
Raja is in town and he mooted the idea of checking the market and also meet Vinod at the same time. So we landed up at the rendezvous 'Best Tea Cafe' in a narrow gully opposite Santosh Sapna. Vinod was already partaking of some Irani chai with two of his mates, Uma Shankar, whom I have met earlier, and Srikanth. They were eating a Khajoor, a Hyderabadi delicacy which I tasted a bit of.

Vinod at the Abids second hand book market
 After  sipping chai and talking about books, politics and movies, (which is the right way to do it) we moved out caps and all (its hot). The pavements opposite Santosh-Sapna theatres are paved with book sellers and their second hand wares. The book shops flow into chosen lanes and nooks, spaces that open up on the Sunday which are not available on other days, such as the space near Bata on Tilak Road. Vinod reckons there are about 30-50 stores open on any Sunday. Say each one has 200 books at a conservative estimate it comes to some 5000 titles at a conservative estimate - all of them with some saleable value. Fantastic.
Stall that had a copy of my book
As one walks you find great covers beckoning you, familiar faces, designs, best selling authors, books you have heard of but  never seen, old favorites that tempt you again, books that remind you of times gone by. Fiction, non-fiction, academic. Buyers walk by and you can see them all walking in a peculiar manner, heads turned to take in any cover that might beckon them, in a manner one searches for a beloved almost. Some sit by patiently, some bargain, some old clients are greeted by the sellers, some merely browse, some come for interviews - all sorts.
Close up 
I saw some books on leadership and stuff that I was tempted to buy but I stopped myself. A book on Steve Jobs interested me, one on the Google story but that was a pirated one. Raja had picked up a few already and Vinod used his practiced eye to pick up three titles in a 'any book for Rs. 20' pile. Uma Shankar and Srikanth had wandered off somewhere by then.
Vinod sifting through
I saw young girls, old men, young men, students, young fiction readers, parents. While walking towards GPO we passed by a store that had 'The Men Within' in its titles. I took a picture and checked to see if I had signed it to someone. None. A Flipkart product. Good. As we walked along Vinod showed me another copy. This one was signed to the children of the ML Jaisimha Cricket Academy. Some kid had read it and sent it along.
Raja sifting through
We walked along until we reached the place where Palace theatre stood three decades ago. I do not know why but I remember an old Ajanta Cool Drinks shop in that lane (three decades ago). They'd serve cool drinks of his own make in a shop, full of mirrors and many rules and regulations. Don't comb your hair was one. Perhaps hair in the drums of cool drinks would compromise quality (find better ways guys). But the drinks were good then and I thirsted for them. I had an able supporter in Raja and as we searched for it we found a whole new mall, ugly as hell. No Ajanta Cool Drinks. Must have gone a decade ago.

We walked to GPO and some more books were bought. Uma Shankar and Srikanth waited here. Slowly we walked back in the heat towards Tilak Road. On the main road I found the third copy of 'The Men Within'. It looks like all my readers have decided to sell their copies to second hand book stores. This one was signed too. To Sridhar. How could you Sridhar? Et Tu. See this heartfelt message I wrote for you. It's a funny feeling. Knowing that you're jostling with the greats, and also a bit sad that my dear readers are not keeping the book under their pillow and sleeping.

I found one book I wanted to buy and asked the chap how much. It was 195. He said he'd sell it for 100. Vinod suggested 60. Shop man said 80. I said 60. He said no. I shrugged. Shop keeper shrugged. I gave him back the book. He took it. I turned away. He turned away. No books for me.

At the corner we found that Daniel had joined us. By now the heat was sharp and we had already done enough for one day so Raja and I excused ourselves but not before we took a picture of all the raiders of the Abids Second Hand Book Market with their loot. I took the picture and hence I am missing.
The Raiders with the loot - Srikant, Daniel, Vinod, Raja and Uma Shankar
I asked Vinod some tips to go about this business of buying stuff here. Carry a cap, he said. Good. Carry water, he said, Great. Bargain, he said. Wonderful. He said he got some great books for as low as Rs. 5, Rs. 10. Look for them.

So ended our trip to the second hand book market in Abids. We left out the small arm which protrudes into the Nampally Road, the one that has Annapurna Hotel. Otherwise the market starts somewhere close to Santosh-Sapna (road opposite and goes down to GPO and then on to Nampally Road.

Thanks Vinod for the tour and Uma, Srikanth and Daniel for the company. Until the next time then.


Jayasrinivasa Rao said...

Ayyo! ... I missed it today ... I should have converted my thought into movement and I could have been there in that group photo ... I am glad that all of you had a nice time ...



Harimohan said...

I was expecting to see you too. Next time surely. Was fun.

Rajendra said...

Killing many birds with one stone, this was. Irani chai, books, company, et. al..a great way to buy on a budget and get pleasant surprises all the time.

Harimohan said...

Yes Raja, agree totally.

Anonymous said...

I'm bad with remembering roads! Ive been here once.I still remember the koti book stalls, the ambedkar statue and the andhra bank at the koti X roads. But the location from the pictures is a faint blip. Would anyone navigate me to this geek point. Anyone? TIA.