Book Fair, Delhi 2024

I don’t claim to be a bibliophile, but I can’t imagine my life sans books.

Moreover, the book fair is the only place that excites me. All the pleasure comes from the smell of newly minted books, catalogs, newer breeds of authors, the new generation of book lovers, a carefully crafted storytelling pavilion, a live show of some star newsreader encountering the writers on it, a not-so-big food court with a range equivalent of India’s diversity.

I still remember my Kolkata days. Book fairs in Kolkata are so surreal, with so many whimsical artists roaming around with their paints-brushes and canvases, with so much Bengali roaring ( Bengal is still known for its art and music environment ), Bengali cuisines, the Bookfair special buses, and the traditional Bengali songs live by the young singers in the fair – everything looks so beautiful there.

It was my first brush with the Delhi edition of the World Book Fair.

It’s the first day of the fair. The scene at the fair was fair enough to visit the whole area in a go.

But like a movie intermission, I wanted to have me-time with food and some hot drink to refresh my mind and body.

Books, Books, and Books –

The smell of a new book is always intoxicating for me. Even my daughter laughs at me when I try to smell the newly bought books.

Yes, I have a box bed that is full of books. My father has a personal library with a good collection of books of different categories.

I still have my first diary cum notebook. My Hindi poetry diary is so priceless to me that no one dares to touch it without my permission.

It’s the world of books in a book fair. The larger-than-life shelves of books have a sea of admirers. The rush might not be the one who is into buying sprees, but it can be the one who loves books. I saw a little kiddo grabbing one little fairy tale book and sitting immediately in the vicinity to read it. So cool, wasn’t it?

‘The author speaks’ corner is an add-on attraction point for the book lovers. Such is the craze for social media posts that every stall has at least two young people surveying prospective buyers.

The more you dig deep in different stalls, the more you will feel connected to the world of books.

In no time, booklovers filled the sprawling fair area of Pragati Maidan in Delhi, and I have to admit that there was no chaotic situation anywhere.

Gleefully, I hopped the stalls along with my husband, who was too willing to be a porter for me for an entire day.

Spending time at book fairs and buying books are two different things.

Many people throng the fair area only for fun, and many accompany their loved ones to spend quality time together.

Schoolchildren come here with their teachers.

A weekend at the World Book Fair is a better option for many like me.

I saw a Bengali guy standing like an old picture, drawing some random portion of the fair on his long drawing canvas. I couldn’t resist clicking his photo on my cellphone. 

I also asked for his permission to use his photos in my blog and asked for his name.

I didn’t click his drawing, but I clicked the name he wrote as I got confused with his Bengali pronunciation ( I hilariously connected the ‘Moye Moye’ slang to his name.).

And here is the live show of Rajat Sharma, the noted news anchor, with some authors.

The stall of the guest country, the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, is attracting people to take selfies.

With the theme of ‘Multilingual India, a Living Tradition,’ the 51st edition of the Delhi Book Fair is spread across five halls, and every corner is fragrant with the aroma of books.

I almost collided with a little girl sitting next to the shelf of fairytale books. I simply told her to sit on the chair of the stall, and oh, she was so sweet to respond immediately.

The little head was so busy with the fairy story.

Parents who always murmur about the side effects of mobile phones and the internet, I have a word for them,’ Please spend some time with your kids, and try to read a book with the kids in your leisure time. 

Don’t preach the things that you usually don’t do yourself.

It’s high time, as there are real issues with quality education and eminent teachers.

It’s high time that the kids are more mature and wise than expected because of the internet and social media platforms.

It’s high time that working parents don’t have time for their kids.

It’s high time that the concerns for the safety of the children are real.

Books and Books

Children’s magazines are more attractive than even the best novels. There were days when we had better magazines for them.

And the price of books is too high for some parents.

School libraries are here. However, children are too burdened with homework and stuff that they find themselves in a fix to develop a book-reading habit.

Books help in eradicating darkness and bringing light.

Books help in recognizing the facts about fake WhatsApp pieces of information.

Books help introverted children as well.

Books help enhance concentration, imagination, and the realization of the power of self-study.

Delhi Book Fair

With so many attractions in the current edition, two or maybe three won my heart- first is free Braille books for visually impaired people, second is free entry for senior citizens and differently-abled, and third is the welcoming tone of every staff of all the stalls I visited.

At the end of the day, I was so tired that the next day I couldn’t even write a single sentence, that’s why I am here on Monday.

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