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!

2 Comments:

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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