Beating against the Delhi’s mercurial weather, dedicated bibliophiles are marching towards Pragati Maidan to attend the 23rd Delhi’s Book Fair that began on 26th of August and will end on 3rd of September. Organized by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) in association with the Federation of Indian Publishers, it an enticing platform for book lovers, scholars, teachers and students, businessmen and women, and parents. As ITPO quoted on their official website, “Apart from promoting literacy and reading habit, especially among children and youth, the fair presents a vast panorama of Indian books on a range of subjects.”
Protecting myself under an umbrella, I left Pragati Maidan’s metro station with one and only one dream: to be among books! The ticket for the fair is only Rs. 30 and if you are a student carry your student ID card and your entry is for free. Delhi Book Fair is being held in Hall No. 8-11 and my sight got overwhelmed with books of all kind: fiction and non-fiction, new and old, paperback and hard cover. Most of the book stalls are divided in terms of prices and number of books: ‘3 books for 100,’ ‘A book each for 100/150’ and ‘books priced differently.’ Since I was on a budget, I reached for the secondhand book stalls and bought three fictional novels for Rs. 100: ‘Rage of Angels’ by Sidney Sheldon (Hardcover), ‘The Automobile Club of Egypt’ by Alaa Al Aswany (Paperback), and ‘The Blind Man’s Garden’ by Nadeem Aslma (Paperback). All three books are in perfect condition. You will also find old Archie comics priced Rs. 40 so don’t forget to dig into every secondhand book stall.
On the other side of the building, in the Hall No. 12, 19th Stationary Fair is being held. For artists, this place will surely lighten your pockets! You will find a wide range in sets of pastel colors, water colors, oil colors, brushes, canvases and all that your he(art) desires. If your neighboring stationary shop doesn’t have that one pen you always wanted, you will find your closure here. I bought a quirky notebook from ‘Bunk Pages’ which costs me Rs. 100 and the paper quality is good. They also have a zodiac collection which is a great gift to a friend (or yourself). You will find vintage hardcovers as old as 1930’s and they smell heavenly (trust me, tried and tested). Within this hall also resides your food court so after a hurling day, you can sit and enjoy your food.
Before you go, remember to carry an umbrella if it rains. Give your heels a day off and wear your good sports shoes since a lot of walking is required. Don’t forget your water bottle to keep yourself and your skin hydrated (no harm looking good for all possible bookworm soul mates!).