27 January, 2021

Bacchus Among The Books

As literary launches become glittering social extravaganzas, the lowly reader starts to drop out

Bacchus Among The Books

Were you at Vikram Seth’s last week? No? Then at Siddhartha Basu’s the day before? Or at Raj Kamal Jha’s? No? Not at Patwant Singh’s either? Surely then at Saeed Jaffrey’s or Vajpayee’s or Githa Hariharan’s? No? Never clinked wine at the British Council ‘charbagh’? Or swilled your vodka at the Habitat? Never lunged for a passing wing of chicken while having your copy of Beach Boy signed by the author?

Oh, that’s odd really, because literary launches are quite ‘ze thing’ in Delhi. Have been for a while now, but until about a year ago they were few and far between— maybe three or four a year, looked forward to with keen-eyed anticipation. Now it’s a deluge. One a week, on an average, if not two. Gone are the low-key I I C dos with readings followed by samosas and chai. Gone the sad solitary rounds authors made to press offices soliciting notices and reviews from editors with sweaty copies of books tucked under elbows. Gone the motley straggle that used to gather to mark a book at the...



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