I call myself a traveler (along with calling myself a bibliomaniac). Only I don’t know what kind of a traveler I am. I am not even sure I want to define what kind of a traveler I am! I love exploring new cities, new cultures, cuisines, have random conversations with people, read my books in a new location, sit by the beach and watch the waves and the likes!
I am currently writing from my 16th floor hotel room with the National Stadium as my view in Bangkok, Thailand. And I have to say, the skyline is pretty awesome. Although it is a concrete jungle, I like sitting by my window, watching the metro pass by, the sunset and the players on the field. It calms me in a weird way.
As you may already know, Bangkok is known for its shopping, its malls and its nightlife. I had heard about it too before I got here. But somehow I did not believe it. I mean come on, how much can one person shop and really, how big can malls get?! As it turns out, one person can shop till their legs break away and malls can get so big that you get lost in them. Ten times! At least!
So given that these malls are mammoth like, the bibliomaniac in me had to find a bookstore, to see if the bookstores were just as big! On my first day out (shopping) itself, I noticed a bookstore at Siam Paragon mall and decided to go there whenever I was left to explore the city on my own!
I went there yesterday. It probably occupies 1/4th of the 3rd floor of Siam Paragon. That is how big this bookstore is! The people of Bangkok clearly know how to make shopaholics out of everyone! Now I know what you are thinking. How many books did I end up buying? Well, honestly, I was so mesmerised by the books and their book covers that I could barely decide! It was pain inducing to make a decision on what to buy and what not to! So many books that I had already read, already possess, were in front of me with different colourful covers! I hadn’t even known of their existence! And now I wanted to buy those too! Just cause they were so damned pretty!! My silent pledge to myself of not buying books/authors that were available in India was slowly starting to dwindle…
Now, obviously, I could not buy the whole literature/fiction section. So I asked a friend to help me. I desperately needed reinforcements! I had by then picked up 3 books (that were already in my ‘to – read’ section on Goodreads; another criteria I had used to pick up books) and by the power of deduction, both of us managed to narrow it down to two books. You should know it took major restraint to come down to 2 books from 3! Thanks to my tech savvy, technology addicted husband, I have a local number with Internet on it. I quickly went on flipkart and checked the cost of the two books in India (just so I could justify it later). As it so happened, one of the books was way cheaper in Bangkok than in India, whereas the other one was way more expensive in Bangkok! Showing true Herculean strength and restraint, I kept the expensive book back and ran to the cashier without looking left or right, like a horse with blinders on!
I quickly paid for my 1 book and came out of the bookstore feeling supremely proud of myself! It really was an achievement that needed to be applauded. However, as time passed by, I started feeling like I had missed out on some of the other books that I was sure I had not even seen! By night, I was positively forlorn. Then, as it usually happens, my husband came to my rescue!
With all the superiority he had, he asked me, “So… How much damage did you do at the bookstore?” For someone who lets me shop to my heart’s content at Zara, H&M, Forever 21, he sure has issues when I buy books! How upside down is that?! Anyway, with all the authority I could muster, I looked at him and spoke in one breath, “IonlyboughtonebookandbeforeyousayanythingIcheckedonFlipkartbeforebuyingit. ItwasmoreexpensiveinIndia!” Phew! Relief flooded my face as I saw him smile and look at me proudly.
Little does he know the exhausting, heart wrenching process that went into picking just one book!