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“Saab! Koi bhi lelo sab 30 ki hain” A message for book lovers

Book reading is considered as a healthy mental activity in many literate societies. People are fond of reading and searching books of their interest. Wherever they find them, they buy them. However, due to the current economic situation of Pakistan, book buying have become a tough job on  regular base.

In the current situation, exhibitions that deal in old and rare books are usually held once in a week. It attracts a large number of book lovers who like to places in order to collect expensive and rare books.

I am a fan who likes collecting rare books that are not freely available in the market. Although, I don’t visit the places regularly so I am not much aware of purchasing behaviors in these sorts of markets. This is what the blog is all about.

Few weeks ago, on a bright Sunday morning I visited ‘Sadeqain arts gallery’ formerly known as Frère hall in Karachi with the aim of collecting books. Luckily, I met my friend Zahid Hussain, a journalist and a scholar, and also found him searching for rare books.

Mean while, I found a book titled ‘Riwayat-e-Aligarh’ (traditions of Aligarh) and decided to purchase it in a glimpse as my family hails from Aligarh (India). I asked its price and the vendor replied that it worth 150 rupees. Following the bargaining habits in Karachi markets, I told him that 75 rupees are quite enough for that book. The book seller replied that it is rare in the market as the author has passed away and it might not be published again so 120 rupees is final. The deal was finally done at Rs. 100. Before handing me the book, he said that he agreed to the bargain as I was fond of these books.

Later, Zahid advised me to visit Regal Chowk in Saddar (Downtown) as a market of old books is held there every week. We went to Regal and found our mutual friend and a prominent researcher Aqeel Abbas Jaffery. He had a bag full of books he had collected.

While I was searching the carts, something caught my attention. There was a pile of ‘Riwayat-e-Aligarh’, I asked the stall owner about its price and he replied in bore ascent, “Saab! Koi bhi lelo sab 30 (rupees) ki hain” (everything here costs Rs. 30).

I speechless at how tricky these people are!

Zahid and Mr jaffery started laughing and told me that you paid the money for you traditions and not for the book so just enjoy the moment.

I would like to advice the readers that collecting books is a great habit and don’t be agitated by the behavior of these kinds of vendors as these people are not selling anything profitable but books, which is assumed as a non beneficial business in Pakistan itself.

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