Adi's Journal

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Urban Gypsy vs Paperback Loyalist – very exciting tussle

In 2010, I shifted to Pune. My aunt’s house was my first abode in Pune. As time passed, my younger brother joined me from Nashik and we took our first rental place. I packed my bags and moved out. A journey of an Urban Gypsy began. It was easy as I mostly owned only study materials and clothes back then. I was struggling to find a library in this new town. It’s not like that Pune has no libraries. However, a new aspiration has taken root in my mind. As I had a place which I can call my own home, I wanted to have my own collection of books too.

As I told you before, I started visiting book stores in Pune. Back in those days,  there used to be a huge Crossword on Jangli Maharaj Road. It has become one of my regular spots. Later, I started frequenting the Crosswords in City Pride cinema, Kothrud. I used to do my annual book hauls of Marathi books from the Akshardhara annual exhibition. They hadn’t started their book gallery back then. With these regular visits and annual hauls, I had managed to collect quite a collection.

And then it hit with very heavy weight

It was all going smoothly. My book collection was looking pretty on a bookshelf. I was happily  enjoying  reading those lovely paperbacks while sitting on the terrace or by the window. Everything was going merely. But destiny had some other ideas. Wait… no, the homeowner had some other ideas. Destiny was too busy toying with other mortals. I had to shift again to another house. 

Soon the bags were packed again. My good, that was the moment when I realised literature is a heavy thing. Stack of books was the heaviest from the cargo to be shifted. But now there was no way to complain. We shifted to the new place and the books were settled in their own corner again. New members of their clan kept coming and joining them. Some of them carried more weight with their snobbish hard-covers with shiny dust jackets. For some time,  these snobs tempted me but I remained  loyal to my lovely paperbacks. But these merry times didn’t last forever either. Soon it was time to put on that gypsy hat and move out to look out for a new place to call home.

Adopting to urban gypsy ways

In this journey of I have shifted 9 places in the last 10 years since I shifted to Pune. Meantime, my own book collection kept increasing and reached over 300 books. I am a very proud owner of those lovelies. However, when it comes to shifting, I always feel the weight of them crushing me. There’s another point I would like to highlight about this shifting problem. And I am sure all the bibliophiles will agree with me. Not always you will get a good bookshelf. It hurts to see the books stacked and stashed away in some corner of the house. You have to dig deep to get the book you want to read. It hurts. And this has brought me to a very very difficult crossroads. “To be or not to be, that’s the question”. Title of the ‘Paperback Loyalist’ (PL) is at stake. 

A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon the ease and convenience of ebooks by chance. Free subscription to Kindle Unlimited was that sinful apple. The timing of that membership was so perfect as if it was planned deliberately by the enemies of Paperback Loyalists. I was traveling and those ebooks allowed me to travel light. Thoughts about  easy shifting, not worrying about more and more space to shelve my precious collection started corrupting my PL mind. And today, when I am still settling in after my recent shift, I feel almost ready to relinquish my title of being Paperback Loyalist. 

Even though I will never part with my books, sadly I can not bring more of those lovelies home. My heart always aches when I see a bookshop. Now I avoid visiting my favorite shops and stick to my mobile phone to do my book hauls digitally. The only solace in this tough choice is, they can’t take my title of “Bibliophile” when they revoke the other one. With a heavy heart, I bid goodbye to “Paperback Loyalist”. At the end, scores are, Urban Gypsy – 1 vs 0 – Paperback Loyalist


This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon. Read my earlier story here.

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