Benjamuna's Blog

Stories…. with a touch of India….

October 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — benjamuna @ 5:38 pm

I’m late with certain things in life…. I  never wanted a driver’s liscense. Nor did I fancy a cell phone, a home computer, an iPod, iPad or a smartphone. Of course I have them all. And sometimes – getting new things –  means you have to part with things. I have been the owner of a Filofax for many years, it’s leather bound. It has been the inventory of my cycle bag for years and years, thus it looks nice and worn – the good thing about real leather!

A while ago I realised I was the only person in meetings with an old fashioned diary. When new meetings were planned, everybody went svosh on their smartphones and could instantly confirm if they were available or not. Whereas I sat with my nose in my leather bound diary, mumbling someting about it not being updated. Or being terribly funny: Filofax and Outlook are not compatible and thus do not synchronize…

Then I started to attend meetings with my diary AND my smartphone – for some peculiar reason. And my note book – , and the coffe mug. And what more do you bring to meetings? Perhaps a yellow folder with appropriate papers. I felt loaded…. The Filofax was never in use, and suddenly one day it was left at my work place when I went of rmeetings. And what’s more, one day it was left at home.

I use it for keeping  record of all the books I read, I keep track of birthdays (yes, could be transferred to the phone I know), and I keep track of all the Christmas cards I send and the Christmas presents I buy. No way am I going to fit this into my phone.

Now I have a leather bound smartphone case…. Well, not one but three covers (shame shame) and one of them terribly expensive realtive to the small size. Two for ordinary  use and one for travel. Just because I couldn’t decide, and since these things wear & tear very slowly I have to stick to my Sony for yet quite a few years…


The beauty of books October 5, 2012

Filed under: Literature — benjamuna @ 7:43 pm
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Sometimes you come across things by pure chance….

As always I was looking for a good bookstore when I was visiting Edinburgh a while ago. I hadn’t expected to find The Golden Hare. It’s a rather anonymous little place from the outside, and I probably hadn’t ventured inside if it wasn’t for a sign saying something about beautiful books. It’s a small place, close to tiny, with a quiet but not unwelcoming woman behind a desk. It didn’t take me long to “crack the code”. In addition to shelves lining the walls there was a table in the middle with quite a few books on display and all had extraordinary book covers. Which made me curious about all the other books on the shelves, and yes – all book covers were out of the ordinary. Which is also the idea of The Golden Hare. In a world, now flooded by gadgets with absolutely no beauty attached to them, this tiny bookstore is nothing less than a jewel.

I bought two books; Anjali Joseph’s second novel Another Country. Quite recently I read her first novel set in Mumbai, Saraswati Park. Might not be Nobel material, but her new one had a beautiful book cover (!) so I decided to give it a chance… (And it proved to be quite good).

The other book I bought was Amitav Ghosh’ sequel to The Sea of Poppies, much awaited River of Smoke – and yes, yet another beautiful book cover.

A few days later we were on our way to The Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh, on foot. It was Sunday morning and it took a while; it was a long walk through many residential areas – but suddenly we found ourselves outside an antiquarian book shop. Not a surprise really, there are many of those in Edinburgh – but the window display caught my attraction.

The display of the books was clearly not accidental – it was beautifully set up. Of course it was closed on a Sunday morning, but I knew what we had to do after the botanical garden because fortunately it opened later. This was no ordinary second hand bookstore, it was an antiquarian bookshop with carefully chosen books. You could tell that the owner had a real passion for books.

The last of my paper money changed owner because he had a few interesting Indian books, but some a bit on the expensive side which I left behind.

I made some remarks about the display in the window and yes – the owner admitted he put a great effort in it and he already had great plans for Christmas. Wish I could be there to see….