Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Notes from sick puppy and more

I wasn’t planning on breaking this made-up rule, but a week ago I went online and purchased my first book. The idea came to me when my mother enraged on seeing a man spit on the road while driving was reminded of a book she had read long ago called the Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen. The premise and character sounded awesome, so I immediately checked with F&F to see if it was still available, but on hearing that it’s out of stock, and being told that it wouldn’t be available in any bookstore across India if it weren’t with them, I decided I might as well click on it.
Before I tell you how delightfully funny the novel is, I ask how furious do you get when random people around you behave outrageously insensitive towards the environment? What do you do with people who litter the streets or threaten to ruin the natural flora and fauna of a place?
Not much, I assume. Most of us who care and want to do more than Facebook activism like whine, curse, fight, strike, take up PhDs or join NGOs are good with causes. But we don’t deal with issues first hand. We don’t teach idiots to be environment friendly with hard lessons and immaculate vendettas.
Not Twilly Spree though — the eco-terrorist with a trust fund. When Spree learns his uncle’s bank has loaned millions to a company to drill holes on the basin of River Amazon he bombs the place with explosives on a holiday. When he sees a man throw garbage out his car window after consuming burgers and milkshake on the highway, he not only stops to pick it up, but dumps an entire truck load of city waste on the litterbug’s hot pink BMW convertible.
Things heat up when Spree gets involved with Florida’s political big shots when he learns that the fate of an unspoilt island is at stake.
Sick Puppy is easy to read, hysterical in most parts and zany from start to finish. The week long wait for it was not the same as the thrill of skipping lunch to save money to buy a book and then doubling back home to read. It was new and different. When the book arrived by post, and that too a day before Christmas, it brought tiding of immense joy, like a gift from a loved one, except that, well, I know I ordered it. But since it came way too early in the morning, while I was fast asleep under layers of blankets, my father, Delhi’s dearest bookseller, missed the irony and paid the bill. I am yet to pay him back.
Book buying has always been awkward affair. I don’t have the liberty to pick books at my fancy, sometimes not even when I offer to pay. Once in a while I am allowed to pick one up on good behaviour or when I make that sick puppy look. Sometimes for the absolute must-haves I secretly go to other bookstores to build my private collection. As for buying books online, I’m going to tweak the rule for good now and buy only those books that are not available. Next on my list is to get a good edition of Carnacki, The Ghost Finder by William Hope Hodgson, my grandfather’s spooky book which I lost after lending it to someone I broke up with. (Aah, so many books to read, re-read and so little time.) As for now, I wish you a very Happy New Year.


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