Book fairs are always special to me. I am not sure how the literary scene is in Tamil right now. Lot of people I know, including me started writing in English. It is not because we don’t love our language but because of various other reasons which should be discussed in separate post altogether. But again you know what a celebration is, it is getting you surrounded with 1000s of books. That festival is in the city right now.
The floods haven’t sparred any. The publishers were the worst to get affected. Each January, starting on Pongal festival, the celebration had gone on for 38 years till now. But this year things were different. Imagine yourself as a new author who was dreaming to get your book released in book fair and suddenly all the printed copies are floating around the publishing house in water because of the floods. The less we talk about the machines which got damaged due to the floods the better.
But like every other industry in the city, the BAPASI picked itself up and it just took six months for them to arrange the book fair in a much better and grander version. I am still in awe of the grandeur they managed to pull off in such a short time. If there is any festival that should be celebrated in the city, it is this. It is here where we can find the Tamil books, which you cannot find otherwise in book stores. This is where we get to meet the authors who will spend time in the stalls and have a casual conversation with them. This is where the focus is on books and focus is only on books. This is where the purse gets lighter, your bags get heavy but still you feel content.
I had kept aside a very good sum of money to buy books. But the floods changed everything. But when I visited the book fair I couldn’t buy as much as I had wanted. But I had reserved the copies with the kind publishers. I will be going there again today to see how much I can carry from the book fair. I will be visiting the fair multiple times. If you are in Chennai, do visit the book fair. It is worth it.