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Don't look now

For the chronically nostalgic, there may be nothing more shocking than being able to say "goodbye" and meaning it. Walking away without wistfully looking back. Yet, that's probably what is happening to me.

Yesterday, I visited my old workplace for an interview in the mainline department. Yes, the same place I once had a passing interest in a colleague and only later realised that she wasn't about to reciprocate. Considering the maelstrom of feelings at the time and, to be honest, for a long time after, I worried about seeing her again.

So imagine the amazement when I found I felt nothing. It feels strange even as I write these words. Sure, I didn't need any butterflies dancing an energetic salsa in my tummy while the heart did a drum solo and mind stepped out to a long lunch. But there wasn't even the weakest hint of my pulse quickening. When I walked out of there, it was with the knowledge that not only was the chapter closed, the book had been returned to the library. Long overdue, but back on the shelves.

Today, while taking a stroll after a late lunch, I spotted one of my favourite signs "Discount on Books". This was outside a venerable bookstore in the Fort area which I've never visited, simply because I can't stand their chaotic stacking style. It doesn't hold a candle to Blossoms, but at least the people at that wonderland know exactly where each and every book is in their store. Anyway, I have a weakness for bookstores that Flipkart hadn't completely dispelled. Yes, I don't visit a cherished second-hand bookstore in Poona as regularly as in the past but it's their fault for moving from their charming cubbyhole of a shop to a soul-suckingly big, bland space in a mall, heaven help me. But I think I'm done.

At the venerable store mentioned above, I enquired about 3 different books, none of which they had. I spotted a 4th by Pico Iyer, whose books I purchase by default. It was Rs. 375 after discount and I bought it. Funny thing is, the urge to check out its price on Flipkart did cross my mind in the store itself but I resisted till I got back to work. Instant regret.

It was Rs. 150 on Flipkart. That's an insane difference in the price, nostalgia be damned. I'm not sure how bookstores are going to survive and don't think I'll care too much either. Besides the price, the desultory attitude of the assistants at the store put me off too. So, while I will go to Popular in Deccan when I need to buy a book urgently - those guys always have the book I want which I find most impressive - I don't see myself deliberately visiting any new bookstore unless someone specifically recommends/praises it. Probably not even then.

Apparently, my sense of nostalgia has its limits. Good to know.

Song for the moment: He had a good time - Cliff Martinez   


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