Thursday, August 11, 2005

Here's something I'd like you to read!

Long back, Rukun Advani ranked a book with Malgudi and The Remembered Village : being a die-hard fan of both, I tried to get hold of Here's some one I'd like you to meet in vain for several months. In every book shop I knew or happened to pass-by, I asked for the book; spelt the author's name for doing a computer search; rummaged through several old book shops; finally, it dawned on me that it indeed is out-of-print. It looked such a pity - more so, because, by then, I had already read The cooking of music and just loved it.

Finally, Praj came to my rescue: Yes, he had seen the book in Eloor - to which library also I was introduced by him: two of the innumerable things for which I should be eternally grateful to Praj - when we are on that topic, I first saw a photograph of Raja Rao - this time no prizes for guessing thanks to who - well, the list can go on for ever - but I am digressing.

After a few unsuccessful visits to Eloor, I finally managed to get the book issued: I read it, recommended it to everybody I met in the next few days, and read once more, and before returning the book, read the passages that I liked for one last time. I also made one of my colleagues, Deep, to read the book; and we had great fun in repeating incidents, sentences, or a phrase from the book, to each other. All good things come to an end, and I had to return the book to the library - I did it with such a heavy heart. To know that there is such a wonderful book, but you will not be able to read a passage from it at your will, is such a pain. However, I kept referring the book to my friends (and, sometimes, even acquaintances).

Finally, the gods smiled on me. Last Saturday, Kiran made me glad with these tidings: Permanent black has brought out a hard cover edition called Raga'n Josh which contains both Cooking of Music and Here's ... (and hold your breath, just for Rs. 395 - and since I bought mine in Strand , as usual, I got a 20% discount on the cover price - to own such a treasure just for Rs. 315! Well, when gods smile, they sometimes grin from ear-to-ear). Like my friend Shencottah says, it is worth pining for a good book, when you know the pleasure that it would bring you on the day you own a copy of your own.

Sheila Dhar's Raga'n Josh is truly a classic - a book of myriad pleasures - it will make you laugh; it will bring tears to your eyes and truly move you; it will bring the experience of listening to music on to the pages of a book; it will make you repeat some of the sentences and incidents to yourself and chuckle alone at the coffee house; and, it will make you long for some of the music and musicians of a bygone era with such intensity - in short, like all great books, there will be a marked difference between the you, before Raga'n Josh, and the you, after Raga'n Josh.

So, go forth, buy the book, read it, and, Welcome to the Sheila Dhar fan club!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your love for books is really praisworthy, i will surely look forward to read it.

1:27 am  
Blogger Mogadalai said...

I understand (from Deep) that raganjosh is a lamb based preparation. In the Mohan Rao-ian style, I should exclaim "Chee Chee! Such a nice book!"

3:38 pm  

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