You visit a book exhibition for the same reason that you visit any other kind:
to stroll about aimlessly while you check out the junta, to wrangle a bargain
triumphantly from a store that's ripping you off anyway, and yes, we'll come right
out and say it - for the mirchi bajji stall. That last treat has now been replaced
by popcorn, but that's about all the change that's happened.
If you've visited it before, there's nothing remarkably new about this exhibition.
Which is okay, since you're not there for the variety anyway. What you're actually
there for is the security of knowing you'll find all your favorite book stores
under one well, one patch of sky. And all of them are there: Best Books, Unique
Books, Visalandhra, and publications like The Week and The Hindu, plus a collection
of literature from Ramakrishna Math and British Library. Publishers like Orient
Longman, Oxford Press and Higgin Bothams shack up next to stores selling Ganesha
idols and wonder stationery (dustless chalk and the like).
The big targets this year are the children and the nerds. Every other stall either
blares gloriously tuneless nursery rhymes or spews trivia at you. Encyclopedia
Britannica has made its first appearance this year, and like most other stalls,
offers a 10-25% discount on its books and CDs.
General sections include arts, fiction and biographies (disturbingly enough, Hitler's
Mein Kampf seems quite a best seller); and reference, educational (all they'll
teach you is that children, like most sensible people, resist education), spiritual
(Osho to Krishnamurthi and Reiki to tantric sex) and children's books (if you
thought computer games were gory, you haven't seen the pop-up human anatomy book).
The Telugu University and Visalandhra stalls offer a pretty popular range of Telugu
literature as well.
The irony of the exhibition, however, belongs to the organizer - you scour the
country for the best stores and titles, you pick what you think will be a perfect
morsel from each state and get the store owners to slash their rates, you bring
them all together to offer the Hyderabadi junta a great cross section of books
from around the country, and what does the Hyderabadi junta do? Promptly goes
to Best Books from Lakdi-ka-Pul and emerges only for refills of cotton candy.
The exhibition is on till the 8th, and on weekends the closing time is extended
to 9pm. For further information, please contact 2475-4688/0368 or 98495-10644.