Bhopal: Book fair turns into King Solomon’s Mines

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Bhopal: To the children, it was a treasure of tomes. And, to the youths, it turned out to be a chosen retreat where they could lay their hands on the volumes scribbled by their favorite wordsmiths.

That describes the four-day book fair, KitabLover, at Manas Bhawan, in the state capital. It concluded on Sunday when the hall where the fair was held seemed to have turned into King Solomon’s Mines and the people were searching for priceless stones.

As many as 300,000 titles, scripted by more than 2,000 authors, have attracted thousands of readers – especially the children and the youths – to the fair. Teachers and professionals were also there to have a glimpse of those titles that they would leaf through in their childhood.

No sooner had a teacher Shantha Nayar beheld Moll Flanders, a picaresque novel by Daniel Defoe than her heart seemed to have leaped up. She told her daughter – that is it! That book reminded her of her salad days when she was in college. Then, she began to sift through the pages of that book. Yet, her daughter, doing graduation, wanted to take home Irving Wallace’s The Seven Minutes and Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal.

Children were so excited about the books that most of them squatted on the floor of the hall and began to turn over the pages of volumes written by their chosen ink slingers. The way the children were poring over the pages of those volumes, indicated that given a chance, they would take all the books to their homes.

An elderly person, Manish Sharma, commented: It was good to see the children develop an interest in the print world. The children’s love for books indicates that the print world has not yet gone into the yellow pages of a history book, he said.

Such a response is, however, against the general perception that the children are away from books, he said. An organizer of the fair Harpreet Chawla said they held the fair for the fourth time in the city, but the response they got this time was amazing.

More than 12,000 book lovers flocked to Manas Bhawan to buy the titles of their choice, she said. She further said that over 20,000 books were sold and that children’s books were in demand. The youths, however, preferred motivational books to fiction, Chawla said.

A lawyer Sanghmitra Singh said she was lost in the planet of books, most of which were of contemporary authors. She wanted there to be some classics. A student Mohsina Siddiqui said books were not systematically placed, but the collections the fair had were outstanding.

Another student Devashish said he found the fair lovely, exquisite, wonderful. Devashish said he bought children’s books. It was a great show after covid-19. The citizens have loved it, he added. As the evening was descending amid driving rain and as the Manas Bhawan was closing the children looked unhappy. They wanted the fair to continue for a few days more. Perhaps, their tender minds know: A book is a gift they can open again and again.

SOURCE- Free Press Journal

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