Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Agartala Book fair 2015

The book worm infected me very early. As long as I could remember, I was in 3rd standard when I fell in love with books thanks to my dad whowas very much insistent. I started my journey with his collection, I was in 8th standard when I almost finished the whole collection of child and youth literature from his bookshelf. Dad understood it was the time for me to start collecting. He took me to the book fair. That year I shop for a thousand rupees. It was the start and from next year onwards it became the most awaited event of the year for me.
As I grew old, budget increased, my taste too started varying. Some times I would shop for Bengali literature only, sometimes it was wholly English literature or Satyajit Ray or Marxist literature or some holy text. But for last few years, the book fair was much less fun. Studies being the culprit, I accumulated piles of unread books. This year the situation is different, book fair accommodated itself into the after exam recess period. I was very much excited to visit the fair this time.
It was the 32nd book fair Agartala was hosting. Book fair here is not same as you would encounter in some megacity like Delhi or Kolkata. Let me explain, this time premises of Umakanta Academy (which also happens to be my secondary school) was leased to be used as fair ground. Temporary stalls were erected using bamboos and wood, decorated with cloth, thermocol, lights etc. For 12 days, these stalls would sell the gold mine of knowledge at 10% discount!!! Publishers from Kolkata, Guwahati, Delhi, Dhaka and Agartala participated. Though participation of outside state stalls were a bit less this time.
As the fair was inaugurated, I started hopping from stall to stall. The grandeur was a bit less this time. No. of stalls were less, some famous books like "The Krishna Key" was sold by none! Dust was another problem. Don't know why the administration didn't arranged to moisten the field, it was a norm in previous fairs. The space too was cramped. There was no map indication position of a specific stall.
Among all these problems, the administration took a good initiative by declaring the fair as plastic free. Though no monitoring was visible, most of the publishers abide by the norm, specially the one's coming from Kolkata. Some local publishers broke the rule, but number was way less. In this era of growing environmental pollution, one must salute such an initiative. Another amazing machine was there in the book fair providing 1-2 rupee coin in exchange of 10-20 rupee notes. It was a great relief for Agartala citizens and publishers both who are always short of small change. UBI bank provided a great service here.
Book fair here is never about books only. It's a common place where a lot of new memories are created, old memories are relived. Here book enthusiasts meet, discuss books, politics, education and a lot of it. There are dedicated sitting arrangements for those who get fatigued with walking. And not to mention, food joints, 'chanachur' (চানাচুর)wala roams around the ground, get a bite for 10 rupee only. The official food joint was hosted by 'cafe jannat' selling different fast foods like egg roll, chop etc. Fair will be there for 6 more days. I plan to visit there once or twice more. Will update here on the latest buzz.
What I brought this time:
1) Collection of novels by RN Tagore
2) Collection of stories by Samaresh Majumder
3) Ghost stories collection. Will update the list.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks a lot for appreciation Raunak.. Please keep visiting..

  2. Book fair e na gia o I hd an xperience of it thru ur blog :-)