Sunday, January 29, 2006

Wordaholics abroad, unite!

Well, I went to the bookfair yesterday and was (as expected) overwhelmed. Two things, however, struck me:

1) the educational book hall was a dense-packed, overfull clot of humanity, from stalls hawking little kids’ books to those selling university test-taking guides. In one stall’s corner, I wandered over and spied 5 or 6 (apparently) late teens absorbed in tomes on operations research and nuclear physics.
2) all of the halls were overwhelmingly dominated by foreign (ahem. Make that non-English and non-Hindi) languages. Yes, intellectually I already know this and this, but it’s quite another thing to be confronted with rows of stalls in Telugu or Urdu or Marathi or Tamil, each with their own hundreds of books on display.

As with most things in India, it was something of a

ba•bel also Ba•bel
1. A confusion of sounds or voices. See synonyms at noise.
2. A scene of noise and confusion.


(p.s.: I didn’t see any Anita Desai…at least in English.)