Weekend Wanderings: Book Fair, Art Festival & Bangla Sahib (January 16 & 17, 2016)

Last Saturday I went to the World Book Fair at Pragati Maidan. I always make sure I visit. I ended-up buying 6 books at a discount. Actually, 6 books for 200 INR. I love buying books, especially if I visit someplace I do not frequent, mostly as souvenirs. The fair was usual as every year. I attended the book-launch of Hari: A hero for Hire written by a Swedish writer Zac O’Yeah. Zac is married to an Indian women and now lives in Bengaluru. Hari is a detective novel based in Bengaluru. Zac read a few pages from his book and shared some interesting anecdotes. It turned out Zac travelled a lot and I always tend to like such people. Many books have been written about cities like New York and London, he said, so new authors can write books based in their hometowns. The book launch was fun. Zac was followed by a French writer who was so boring we had to leave without bothering to know her name. I was accompanied by an acquaintance and we left the fair at about 7 pm.


On Sunday I went to the India Art Festival at the Major Dhyanchand Natinoal Stadium. It was the last day. The festival hosted works from 35 galleries and 350 artists mostly from India, Singapore, Dubai and Pakistan. I loved the sculptures the best.


I got a call from one of the people I met during my Rajasthan trip. This guy, Pratik Shangvi, is from Bengaluru and is here in New Delhi for a short while. We had met for the first time in Udaipur. We wanted to meet again before he left for Bengaluru. So I called him to the stadium. He could not make it on time and the exhibition was quite small so I asked if he could cancel his exhibition plan and meet me at Pragati Maidan instead. Besides I was very hungry (from 45 minutes of walking from Central Secretariat to the stadium) and the café in the stadium (I guess) was quite pricy. I’m not the kind of guy who would pay 200 INR for a grilled sandwich when I can get a full meal for 40 INR. I had chole kulche for 30 INR and rushed to the entrance where I met Pratik. We had gol-gappe which again is quite cheap (I don’t know exactly because he paid). He wanted to visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib so we went to Rajiv Chowk.


Bangla Sahib was quite the same except for the maintenance work with the pond. I last visited this place about 3-4 months ago. However, Bangla Sahib is a place (when visited in moderation) you can never get tired of. We had lunch at the langar. The roti is called prashada and is the most adamant, thick and bitter of all but – c’mon – it’s blessed and it’s free! Pratik wanted to have Chocolate Paan at Odeon. So we headed off to this incredible place that’s so difficult to find. The last I had been there was 3 years ago. So yes, the human memory has limitations. From Odeon we walked to barakhamba metro station. I wanted to have Rabri-faluda. I was pretty sad when the guy was not there. People told me he does not come on Sundays.


Pratik had to buy a beauty-cream. His boss’s wife had asked him to get the cream from Delhi. We went to Select Citywalk at Saket. He paid 2700 INR for this cream from Seiko and we both could not stop talking about how we could have used the money for travel. We had dinner at laxmi nagar which is pretty cheap. We had fried-rice with sambhar for 80 INR for two. It is probably going to be quite long before I see Pratik again. He left for his friend’s house at Vaishali. I walked to my place. It is pretty close to the metro. And that’s about my weekend.