Manisha Chaudhry, Head of content development- Pratham Books, writes about the Delhi Book Fair, the awards we won and the work we love.
Long maroon carpeted corridors wind between brightly lit stalls spilling over with books. Stalls of every shape and books of every size. Snooty ones with straight spines and abstract covers, the arty ones relaxing on sheets of plastic and children’s books smiling down from wiry shelves.
Groups of keen eyed book lovers ferretting among piles marked ‘buy one get one free’, elbows occasionally jabbing eyes as one overhears murmured gossip about the authors,
Publishers shaking hands vigorously as they eye titles on the other one’s shelves, snatches of sales figures float in the hall and it is difficult to find their owners.
Groups of youngsters in various stages of mirth, some of them nudge and smile while others laugh uproariously as only the young can as they pass stalls with flashy electronic display. Next to the constantly morphing screens stand scrawny necked young men in ties who are scanning the throngs to catch any eye. Encyclopedias, CDs to make your child a genius.
Exhausted families flop down in colourful heaps as the children demand ice cream. Teenagers who only look at books on computers while balancing paper plates of bhelpuri. Bespectacled middle aged men leafing through self help books as they gaze speculatively at the devout throng in the sahaj yoga stall.
The picture gallery with a focus on the north-east with writers who gaze impassively from the frames waiting to be read…
We troop into an expectant hall to be awarded for excellence in book production by FIP. Smiles and applause as two of our lovely books-Jaale Ki Jadugar, Makdi and Mera Ghar are announced. Our happy contingent has sat through much muttered gossip and few boring speeches for this moment when Mukesh ji proudly returns with the prizes… duly photographed.More than eighteen hundred books were submittted by various publishers across the country, so this is a moment to bask…savour…celebrate!
Audrey Kumar, our lovely French illustrator of Raja Nang Dhadanga turns up serendipitously with her husband and little boy, Remy. It is his fifth birthday.We all merrily make our way down to Stall 36-Pratham Books where Kabi is earnestly explaining the merits of each book to prospective buyers.Remy walks around picking up books and talking in rapid french. We quickly make a selection of books for his birthday as he exchanges a last hi-5 with me.
Another day at the Delhi Book Fair draws to a close. Achy feet but we are all smiling.