Such is life that from day you are born you are expected to achieve…. milestones which need to be reached…. your first cry… first milestone reached… your parents, the Doctor, the nurse all are happy…. baby is breathing… There are achievement goals throughout life… How well did you do your high school …. what grades did you get…. which college did you attend. What did you achieve in your life?
In 1513 one book (The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli) was written and it got published in 1532 but in Politics we still have Machiavellian way which almost all politicians without boundaries use to gain power and then they are said to have achieved something in life
If you are gentle without malice towards anyone…. you are a commoner and you will one day close your eyes for ever without having any achievement.
My wife was going to take the morning flight and my father was to return by the afternoon flight, so it was my duty to see off one and receive the other. Well my wife was carrying lots of make up material, she being a professional make up artist. My father is nearly 80 though he is still ramrod straight and very agile and fit but age makes you dependent on someone or other. So there was lot of time between one departing and the other flying in which meant a travel of nearly 30 km to and fro from the city. To add on it being a Saturday I had a lot of time to myself. I decided the most fruitful way to spend that amount of time is to be with books, so fro Airport I went to International Kolkata Book Fair Grounds.
One of the favourite places to be in the spring just after mild winter of Kolkata is Kolkata Book fair. The fair was earlier organised in Heart of the City which is also known as Lungs of Kolkata, the Maidan. Then it shifted to Milan Mela near Eastern Metropolitan Bye-Pass and now it is in Salt Lake, Kolkata or better Bidhannagar. The fair is organised by Publishers and Book Sellers Guild and is the Worlds Largest Book Fair with this year’s Theme Country being Guatemala. This book fair concept started in 1974 and has continued to grow into the biggest Book Fair in the world with 2 million footfalls and with 600 book stalls and nearly 200 little magazine stalls. It did a business of nearly 24 million rupees. Different countries participated wither Stalls mainly from USA, UK, France, Japan, Russia, Vietnam, Nepal, Latin American Pavilion, Bangladesh and for the first time Iran too participated.
I was roaming from one book stall to another in the mazes between the stalls. You always need a map of the Book Fair to be handy with you otherwise one can get lost amongst the stalls. Most difficult part with nearly a dozen Gates to enter and exit, you may get out from a wrong gate then one will have to walk for nearly 2 -3 km to reach the Parking Lot. The smell of new books is something every youngster enjoyed in the growing up years. Then we only had bulky books to read and no Kindle to make it easy for you. I still enjoy reading books rather then reading it on Kindle. The best part of Book fair is that you can see renowned Authors signing their copy, folk music being presented in open air theatres and of-course fragrance of freshly cooked food from some demarcated stalls. I was loitering around when I saw in front of one stall one well known author was just standing outside and signing the copies of his book for whoever cared. Understandably he was just visiting the Book Fair on his own and had been cornered by his readers. I had read some of his works so I also wanted a signed copy.I rushed into a stall to get his book and then went to the Author. By then a long queue of his book lovers had been formed, I stood patiently. After nearly 10 minutes my turn came and he took the book from my hand to sign the copy. I just said to him you are the reason I learnt the language, he looked up. Actually I was born in north Part of India and other English, Hindi was the language I studied in linguistic. However when I came to Kolkata Bengali was the lingua-franca. My classmates, who later became good friends, were very interested in one Bengali Novel and there were no translations available then. So I learnt the language to read and understand. It opened to me different flavour of literature where one could just describe mundane daily life with such great ease without being elite and yet have that elitist style. I told him all the same and he gave such a shy smile and instead me saying ‘Thank You’ for signing my copy he said, “Thank You.”
Normally the word Chivalry means being very polite, honest and having kind behaviour towards women. Come on I don’t get chance to be chivalrous nowadays as I meet so few women because when I am away from my cubicle either I am glued to my android and when I am not I see the lady passing by glued to hers. Either we are on Facebook or twitter or whats-app or checking mail. Most of the days I return home to find my wife either busy chatting with her friends or busy watching something or other on you tube. By the time I sit down I am already checking for messages or emails, then while looking at the phone we take our dinner in silence, smiling in-between at the funny jokes sent by pals whom I may or may not meet ever.
Other day in the office I saw Sara walking in so just opened the door waiting for her to walk in. She was glued to her android and on reaching near the door tried to find the knob to open the door which naturally she could not find as I was holding the door ajar. Shocked she looked up and with a quizzical face asked me why I was holding the door open. I said, ” So that you can walk in without having to take the trouble of opening the door.”
“Oh! Thank you.”
She walked in with a wry smile. Luckily she is my daughter’s friend so I am sure she didn’t react in another way.
Actually Chivalry still exists but not in the sense it was earlier. Nowadays most of the men and women treat each other as equal so very few ladies expect that chivalrous attitude. I and Uma don’t do it the same way we did it earlier. When we got married I was expected to work and she was expected to be the homemaker. Now she has her own small business which makes more money then I make in my job. I still open the door of the car or help her to sit in the restaurant, as that is what I have learnt in my younger days. She was expected cook the most delicious dinner and serve it hot when I return home tired after a days work. Nowadays either we return together or some days I return before her and so it is my job to fix the dinner and lay it once she returns. Earlier I used to get chocolates for her, she liked them a lot but nowadays she gets something or other for me. That’s being Chivalrous.