I gifted my friend a book last year for her birthday. After getting the package on her hand, she immediately tear the package and stared at the cover for a moment. Immediately afterwards she puts her finger to somewhat middle of the page and open it wide. Immediately after, she dug her nose between the pages.
Mark Twain once said “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” Without books, life seams meaningless. The cultural heritage of Kolkata, in terms of literature and art are reflected in the world’s largest non-trade book fair – International Kolkata Book Fair.
I did visited the book fair, on 10th February, but due to unfortunate turn of events for the past couple of weeks, I was unable to pen down my experience. Then I thought, better late than never, right?
Inaugurated in 1974, this was the 42 nd International Kolkata Book Fair and France being the theme country for the third time. Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal has inaugurated this year’s fair where the Minister of Culture & Communication, France- Ms. Francoise Nyssen was present as special guest. Due to immense crowd we wee unable to enter the exhibition inside. This year, the fair was held at Central Park, Salt Lake.
There was approximately 500 stalls and the entire region was divided into five divisions based on the genre of books. The Kolkata Book Fair is not a organisation of booksellers and organisations, but a journey of the book nerds and readers through different types of book exhibition, and being acquainted with different books.
The specialty and purity of the book fair is that, it is not limited to any language, genre or a particular era of books. Presence of executive small, medium to large publishing houses, to individual books sellers makes the book fair more executive. And, the show is not limited to books also.
I found numerous artists displaying their art for sale.
Now, the question may arise in your mind, in the days of new advancing technology, where books are found in pdf format or various online stores selling books at huge discounted prices, why on earth someone prefer to visit or buy books from book fair?
Then my friend, I must tell you, the feeling of the rough course pages and rusty smell from an old book on an idle afternoon is not old school. And, of course, there are various (read hundreds and hundreds) of books and publishers that are not registered to any online sites. Who knows, you may find a story of a lifetime there. 🙂
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