Another good Wednesday

In the annus horibilis 2009, which is now a bad memory only, I had somehow acquired a dread of Wednesdays. This was despite the day being a free day in the maelstrom my life had become. Unfortunately, this particular day became a byword for…. however, its better not to dwell upon past unpleasantness. However, it was salvaged somehow around this time or last year when I re-immersed myself in my predilection for Urdu lierature and poetry and began using the day to visit old Delhi and browse in a couple of bookshops there.

March 17, 2010 proved to be one of those rare days which remain in the memory – and for the correct reasons. Having no other engagements planned or prospective, I spent the earlier part of the day in a sloth-like state and it was quite late in the afternoon that I did venture out, planning another trip to the teeming streets of the old city to see if anything new had come. Of course, there was the economic angle to consider but a spate of restraint in other spheres for some period was enough to assuage fears for the present.   And then there was the Caesar streak in me and the dice in hand (well you should know this reference and if you dont then , I am not going to be helpful).

However, reaching the area and sauntering down the familiar street, stopping at the kiosk to have a cold drink before ascending that slight rise to the Urdu market, it was all part of the old routine. As I reached Maktaba to a genuine welcome from Khusro sahab and began browsing, I immediately hit on a minor treasure. However, I am not going to reveal it here yet. A couple of other worthwhile books came to hand but then I thought about a particular fervent desire over the past few days, sadly dashed one afternoon, and decided to try it on.

I refer, of course, to my search for great Persian poets of the bygone eras. I had tried the Iranian cultural centre late last month but that venture – almost three quarters of an hour spent roaming aimlessly and reading the advertisments at bus stands as I waited for their lunch to get over – proved fruitless as they had none of the books I was searching avidly for. However, as I said earlier, it is useless to dwell on the past.

However, to come back to the present, I asked Khusro sahab where those immortal poets – Rumi, Jami, Sadi, Hafiz and so on – could be found and his answer was quite unexpected but very welcome. Right here, he said and proved to demonstrate with a the Diwan-i-Hafiz. This I immediately acquired and kept the rest for the next time. However, he expressed inability to furnish another classic I was searching for.

Anyway, leaving the Maktaba after a fairly long stay, I began to direct my steps towards the Metro station through the damned and crowded street but hardly had I taken a few steps that I remembered something and went back for it. I didn’t find what I was looking for but found something else that would suffice. Then I again attempted to leave the area but was again stopped when I found a place I had decided to llok for something was open.

And here I FOUND IT. And this was a bi-lingual copy of the Chahar Maqala. I had an English version already but was desperately hankering for it in its original language and I FOUND IT. And that was not all, I found something I had searching for – for ages but sadly could not take it then only due to a shortage of liquidity. However, the proprietor agreed to keep it back for me.

And when I go and get it, I will let you know what it was……

So on the whole, an extremely worthwhile day. And I will let you know what Chahar Maqala is

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