Of all the events, the most delightful one was on Sunday morning, 23 Jan 2011 – Boys will be boys – with Ruskin Bond who spoke to Ravi Singh, Editor-in-chief of Penguin India. Reading from his book A handful of nuts, the author evoked laughter among the audience as he read the antics of a lady – whose skin he likened to that of a crocodile – trying to seduce a man much younger than her. In deference to the young school going audience, he had to stop short of reading the entire passage! He shared an anecdote about his visit to a book shop and finding his book lying way below in a pile under all the best-sellers. Mr Bond, looking about the make sure the owner wasn’t watching, took his book out from the bottom of the pile and placed it on top. All his care and caution was brought to naught when the book shop owner picked up his book and told him – unaware that he was speaking to the author – ye book chalta nahin hain! To refute that, he bought the book, the price of which was a meager Rs 3/-
There was not much of a market for books when he began writing which was about 50 years ago, the author said, calling himself “quite ancient.” There were no festivals or book fairs then. The first book fair was in Delhi in 1968-69.