April 08, 2010

Books Travellers Read in Mumbai Locals – Part II

Continuing with my series, this is Part II of my ongoing attempt to note the books my fellow travellers read in Mumbai local trains on their way to work and back.

Seeing Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress in the hands of a traveler reeled me back to several years ago.

There was a time a few years ago when if you were reading a book it had to be The Da Vinci Code. I saw more copies of the Dan Brown bestseller in Mumbai local trains than any other title. There was no competition, even Jeffrey Archer, the perennial favorite, had fallen by the wayside. The Da Vinci Code came in a variety of covers, and came to be seen in a ‘variety’ of hands.

In time those who read from their passion for books, those who were the curious sort, and those who would rather read than be called out for ignorance of the book in their circles were done with reading The Da Vinci Code. The regular readers among them, possibly still influenced by the Dan Brown thriller from the year before moved on to his other titles, Digital Fortress being one of them.

In time I saw more people reading Digital Fortress. But I must say one thing from observing reading patterns in trains. If not for The Da Vinci Code I doubt if Brown's Digital Fortress would’ve gathered as much currency with readers as it apparently does. The Da Vinci Code was something else for more reasons than one.

Squeezed in the crowds I would let my mind float above the very obvious discomfort by co-relating faces with the books in their hands. It was with The Da Vinci Code that I saw more variety in the faces reading the book than I normally would. Could it be possible that it had made readers out of non-readers. I doubt it even as I concede that there were exceptions knowing well that exceptions are never the rule.

From the faces of some of the travelers I saw with The Da Vinci Code, I doubted if any of them would ever come around to reading another book once they managed to plough through Brown's bestselling offering. I couldn't be sure. Yet I took some pleasure in my certainty as if I had surmounted a level in face reading.

Held immovable in the crowd jamming the compartment my mind would float free giving me ample mind-space to maneuver my discomfort in and while away my traveling time in trying to make sense of the faces jammed around me, for there was no other way to survive the human fortress the phalanx of fellow travelers would present on my way to work and back.

While it might still be possible to flip through thrillers in crowded trains without losing the plot, the same cannot be said if you’re reading Trout on Strategy.

The gent in the aisle alternated between reading Jack Trout’s Trout on Strategy and his cellphone. Each time he would return to the book after smsing, before glancing at the cellphone to check for replies.

The lot of corporate workers is now tied to the smart Blackberrys they sport, often carrying on conversations in crowded trains when they’re not checking or answering their mails, their voices often rising to be heard about the din even as they’re supposedly driven by exasperation to berate their subordinates at work with a succession of threats as to consequences that await if deadlines are not met.

It is a strategy that works in India in keeping the subordinate level on the mat, allowed to breathe just enough to finish the work assigned. It wouldve been interesting to read of Jack Trout's take on such strategies.

Given a choice I would much rather read John le Carré than Trout. Long ago I started with John le Carré, reading up the titles I could get hold of, before shifting to Robert Ludlum. John le Carré is the nom de plume of David John Moore Cornwell.

So when I happened upon an office-goer immersed in John le Carré’s A Most Wanted Man I gladly let my mind relapse to my school days in Goa years ago. It was a Reader’s Digest profile of John le Carré I read in high school that pushed me into reading his books.

I still remember the black and white image of John le Carré the profile carried, prompting me into thinking, ‘Aha, he does look like a spy.’ Back then it helped if the author looked a bit of a spy himself, sharp features et al, not that any of us had ever seen a real spy but we hoped to, and probably did in the pages we devoured of spy thrillers beginning with le Carré. After all, imagination helped us replace the reality of dreary textbooks at school.

Writing of reality and dreams in the context of his books, John le Carré notes:

A good writer is an expert on nothing except himself. And on that subject, if he is wise, he holds his tongue. Some of you may wonder why I am reluctant to submit to interviews on television and radio and in the press. The answer is that nothing that I write is authentic. It is the stuff of dreams, not reality. Yet I am treated by the media as though I wrote espionage handbooks.

While John le Carré might not agree with the reality we ‘experienced’ in his books we had little doubt about its authenticity. No fiction will succeed if it does not sound like non fiction.

I haven’t read le Carre’s A Most Wanted Man. I would be surprised if it isn't as real as the rest of his books. On his website, John le Carré introduces A Most Wanted Man thus:

A half-starved young Russian man in a long black overcoat is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night. He has an improbable amount of cash secreted in a purse round his neck. He is a devout Muslim. Or is he? He says his name is Issa.

Annabel, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, determines to save Issa from deportation. Soon her client’s survival becomes more important to her than her own career. In pursuit of Issa’s mysterious past, she confronts the incongruous Tommy Brue, the sixty-year-old scion of Brue Frères, a failing British bank based in Hamburg.

A triangle of impossible loves is born.

Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the so-called War on Terror, the spies of three nations converge upon the innocents.

Poignant, compassionate, peopled with characters the reader never wants to let go, A Most Wanted Man is alive with humour, yet prickles with tension until the last heart-stopping page. It is also a work of deep humanity, and uncommon relevance to our times.

To watch John le Carré talk about A Most Wanted Man, click here.

It’s never an easy jump from John le Carré to Paulo Coelho, arguably the most read author on Mumbai local trains now.

Each time I see someone reading a Paulo Coelho title on the local train, and believe me many do, I cannot help wonder about the persona of the reader. I look even closer at the face tucked into a Paulo Coelho title.

On the local train I often count minutes left to my destination each time it makes a stop at a station along the way.

And when I saw a youth immersed in Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes, I made a quick mental note to find out if any of the stations along the way is eleven minutes away from my destination, an exercise most unnecessary but strange are the ways a mind works in whiling away time. Thirteen minutes, yes. But eleven minutes? No. Now, whenever I pass the station thirteen minutes from my destination I’m reminded of Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes.

Stacked tightly in crowded trains feels like a prisoner might, mentally ticking away minutes to freedom. Travelling by Mumbai local trains is not very different even given the occasional freedom of space one experiences from time to time.

Growing up we used to be told that we would be known by the company we keep, by implication nudging us into using discretion in choosing our associations, friends or otherwise.

It was a refrain we heard as much in our classrooms as back home among elders at family gatherings, driven as it was by fears founded in the unsavoury happenings around them. Family priorities differ from community to community and I’m not talking about neighbourhoods here. And I suspect it had to do more with their fear of our taking to smoking and drinking before progressing to the ‘other things’. While it was hardly repeated it swung about tangentially in conversations, reminding of: You’re known by the company you keep.

Later we came upon it in books, further cementing the adage in our minds, for we surmised that if it was in a book it had to be true. Moreover if any of us were to sidestep the caveat there was no hiding from consequences. In small towns there’s little anonymity, in turn exerting an invisible pressure to stay clean and stay on course.

In time when we discovered the library in high school, the adage mutated to: You’re known by the books you read.

And sure enough the lot of us attempted to outdo the other in the number of books we read and in the diversity of titles we could make sense of, excepting of course James Hadley Chase. The covers were too saucy to take to the female librarian at my school for issuing them let alone bring them home to middle-class families. But Nilesh, my senior at high school, was an exception.

Each morning I took my regular route to school. And once each week, sometimes twice, as I turned the corner and hit the main stretch of the road, I would invariably find myself walking behind Nilesh. He was thin, fair, and walked straight, his khaki school bag strapped tightly to his back. Propped up, as if by design, between the two canvas straps holding the upper flap down, and most of us had little doubt that it was deliberate, would be a James Hadley Chase title, half the jacket jutting out prominently for anyone who cared to look, displaying the semi-clad and sensuous model fronting the title. No one who walked to school behind Nilesh each morning missed noticing the provocatively undressed model ‘strapped’ to his back. Looking back now I can only imagine what the 80s school-going souls must’ve made of the whole thing.

Soon enough an enterprising classmate would smuggle in a Chase title duly wrapped in brown paper so it would not stand out among textbooks we read at school. So whenever any of us spied a classmate reading from a covered book with an intensity that was never bestowed on hapless textbooks, we exchanged knowing glances and soon more eyes would turn to the ‘culprit’ who remained oblivious to it all.

So when I saw a fellow traveller opposite me reading from a book whose jacket appeared to be hastily covered in a newspaper I became curious, wondering if he was apprehensive of being seen reading the book. It was very likely he was.

As he flipped the pages I caught sight of the title – The 3 Mistakes of My Life, a tacky campus book by Chetan Bhagat. No wonder he had the book jacket wrapped up in a newspaper.

If you’re known by the books you read, be assured there’ll be books a ‘self respecting reader’ will not want to be caught dead reading, more so if it is a Chetan Bhagat book.

But apparently not everyone thinks so, even flaunting the Chetan Bhagat title: The 3 Mistakes of My Life.

But then you might be able to explain away his choice of book from his choice of his t-shirt, rather on his choice of the attitude screaming from his chest.

Yes, sometimes it is that simple.

Maybe the adage could now change to: At times you’re known by your clothes as well, rather you're known by what you wear when you're reading Chetan Bhagat!

Note: Read Part I and Part III in my series noting the books my fellow travelers read in Mumbai local trains on their way to work and back, and sometimes on their way elsewhere around the city.

A Request: I started out photographing travelers reading books few years ago to build up sufficient numbers that could be converted into posts. I’m all for this concept and my series involving traveling readers pictured with their books being taken forward by others in their cities and I would appreciate it very much if you would note/credit and link back here if this inspired you to do a series or a variation of the series of your own.

Since this is a part of my larger India Book Project involving books and the reading people, I’ll be counting on the link-back for continued and further participation of new readers.

Related Posts in my India Book Project Series

1. Granthayan, A Mobile Book Store
2. Indian Copy


Anuradha Shankar said...

Great one, Anil.. you brought back so many memories....
John Le Carre was one of my dad's favourites, and i read him just to find out why! for a while, i was immersed in spy stories :)
as to James Hadley Chase, when my dad passed away, there was a cache of chase books in his shelf, and my grandfather hastily gave them away! and was terribly embarrased when, a few years later, i asked him why!!! Only when i was older and managed to get hold of a couple of chase books did i understand why!!!

Natasha said...

Every third person in the ladies' compartment is reading Two States, and every second person is reading a Chetan Bhagat. And you are right - many even flaunt it as an accessory.

radha said...

Interesting to think so many Indians read! A good sign indeed. But are you just taking into account English books? Don't seem to be any vernacular readers? Or is it right to deduce that those who travel First Class read only English books? Could be a good study for a dissertation.

chica said...

Don't really agree with the CB comment.. Have not read any of his books yet, but am a great fan of pulp fiction of any kind and don't really judge people based on books.

I am really curious to know how many of these books are legit buys? From the pictures most of these look like legit, you might know for sure though. Or are these the cheap paperbacks from the traffic signals?

Lynn said...

John le Carre is a wonderful choice for the train. His writing is so descriptive and subtle, I think. I don't know Chetan Bhagat - but that spring break shirt makes me smile. :)

Riot Kitty said...

As always, I loved your post. Interesting ideas about people becoming readers because of a certain book (although I personally can't stomach Dan Brown, because in my opinion he's a terrible writer.) And very interesting that someone would hide a book in newspaper!

If you are the books you read...I like a wide variety of books. So on any given day I am a murder mystery, a biography, fiction, etc.

TALON said...

I was looking forward to another of your commuter-reading posts, Anil. I had to laugh at the paper-wrapped books - both past and present. And I laughed at Nilesh showing the covers - definitely he was showing off. Mind you, the paper-wrapped covers gave it all away and, as you say, the intent scrutiny of the book. You're right - textbooks never receive that same consideration - lol!

Fishbowl said...

I am rather enjoying this series Anil! Glad to see it in action after hearing about it:) yay!

I absolutely love the Chetan Bhagat picture! Completely made my morning:)

Anil P said...

Anu: Thank you. No wonder your grand-dad hastily gave the Hadley Chase titles away :-) Surprisingly the saucy covers of James Hadley Chase books had little to do with the content. I suppose it was more for the allure.

And it was a pertinent case for Don't judge a book by its cover.

Not Enough Hours: The Chetan Bhagat atrocity is bound to continue with his factory production set to carry on. :-)

Radha: I'm not sure if the reading population in India has increased in proportion to the overall increase in population.

One way to evaluate the ratio would be to compare the number of book readers in local trains from year 2010 to year 2011, a year on year relative ratios. If the ratio is the same or has dipped then the percentage of readers is not increasing with the year on year increase in population.

Chica: While Chetan Bhagat's offering can/might qualify as pulp fiction, the quality of his writing and plot rates poorly when compared against other titles in the pulp fiction category, more so for the apparent numbers his book has run up in sales.

If not for the numbers he is racking up, nobody would've bothered with Chetan Bhagat's offerings. So I think the 'other' readers are in effect queasy with what Chetan Bhagat's sales numbers might imply, namely indicating that it is not a good sign to see so many of young Indian readers being brought up on the tacky quality of Chetan Bhagat's books.

What they would instead wish for is to see the next generation of readers cut their teeth on more substantative writers and books.

Most of the books I see travellers reading in the local trains are legit, only occasionally pirated. It is more likely you might see Paulo Coelho's Alchemist, or Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code pirated.

Lynn: Thank you. Personally I always liked John le Carre's books.

Riot Kitty: Thank you.

Oh, yes. I remember noting the comeback that Dan Brown's that Angels and Demons made in the local trains after his The Da Vinci Code made the bestseller list.

I suspect that in addition to the embarrassment of being seen reading Chetan Bhagat's The 3 Mistakes of My Life he must also have thought that folks opposite him in the compartment and possibly unaware of Chetan Bhagat's title might actually think odd things of him, wondering what mistakes he is possibly reading about, more so in this day and age when you never know what the word 'mistake' can conjure up in fertile, imaginative minds :-)

Talon: Thank you. It's as much fun doing these posts.

The paper-wrapped books and readers paper-wrapping books are an enigma in themselves. He was showing off for sure, the book neatly ensconced in the backpack and peeping out from between the two straps holding down the upper flap of the school bag :-) Honestly, without such characters school would not have been half the fun it was.

Fishbowl: Thank you. The t-shirt so goes with the essence of his books :-)

Packabook Travel Novels said...

This is such a great subject to blog about. I live in London and am constantly keeping an eye on what people are reading - there are definite trends! At the moment, it seems to be Stieg Larsson's 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'.

karen said...

I'm enjoying this topic! I'd almost forgotten about those saucy-looking James Hadley Chase novels. As a volunteer librarian in a small town, a few years back it was always interesting to see how popular they were!! Now I'm curious to find out more about Chetan Bhagat...

You do convey the idea of the conditions on the trains!! Not my idea of fun, and would have to be engrossed in a book to survive, I think.

Anjuli said...

Ah, I'm glad you added the part 2- I loved the part 1. :) It is so fascinating to see the books people read on their commute- and then their behavior (as in the man who checked his cell phone in between reading).

As for all of those who read on the train- what an excellent use of time!!

Victoria said...

You are a super wonderful writer! I enjoyed reading your post..and your photos are superb..they felt like images that could be paintings! Very cool! Great read..

Meri said...

Thanks for the second installment. Your insights are fascinating!

Anil P said...

Packabook Travel Novels: Thank you. I suppose in London, books read in public spaces is more diverse than back here in India.

The thrillers from masters of yore are still the more favoured titles here.

Karen: I'm glad to hear that. Without feedback I doubt any effort can run on its own steam for long.

I remember they stood out for their covers even though there was very little inside to match the sauciness the covers must've promised the reader :-)

The travelling conditions in Mumbai local trains need a strong heart to survive, mainly for the crowds packing it inch to inch.

Anjuli Thank you. It's an excellent use of time no doubt.

Kiki: Thank you.

Meri: Thank you.

Rinkly Rimes said...

What a great project! The travelers obviously like a few thrills on their way to work!

Janit said...

I think Chetan Bhagat's first book was the one that really made a lot of people take to reading....doubt how many of em continued with the habit.
Brilliant post on books and readers.

Niranjana said...

So Dan Brown's world domination plans are on target, eh?

Mohan said...

Interesting.. how did you manage to capture all those pics.. were they clicked with their consent? Great post!

Lucy said...

No Harry Potter then?!

Another hit, Anil. I like the way you move in and out of observation and memory and association. I'd like to see this project being done all over the world to compare what people read in different places.

Unfortunately I hardly ever travel by public transport here, this makes me rather wish I did...

Anil P said...

Rinkly Rimes: Thank you. They sure do, before the reality of the workplace comes home to roost!

Janit: No one will ever know for sure. But I wish we did know. Thank you.

Niranjana: I doubt it. Already I see fewer people in trains with his titles. Or maybe he's on target for all I know. Time will tell.

Mohan: Luck, and maybe perseverance.

Lucy: Not in Gents compartment, as yet. Or maybe I wasn't around when somebody did read Harry Potter. Unlikely though.

In the Ladies compartment, possibly yes. And I did see one girl reading a Harry Potter title on a railway platform once while she waited for the local train.

Actually, that happens to be my aim, to have my project extended all over the world by folks elsewhere putting up pictures of readers reading books in public transport and also their own book reading memories.

Thank you. Seeing covers brings up many a own memory to the fore.

Sudha said...

people in different moods with their book makes an interesting subject (to watch)...I love to see their expressions change with each progressing page (I know, i know, this could be termed rude)..:)..but i just cant help it (I do it with my family :P)

Lucy said...

I've just mentioned this at mine urging people to take up the idea...

Anil P said...

Sudha: Faces in repose are fascinating, so calm even when they might be reading a edge-of-the-seat thriller.

Lucy: I went over and read it. Thank you very much for helping push this idea along. It would be interesting to have folks around the world document on their platforms readers reading books in public transport or public places.

Becca said...

I just discovered your blog and I have to say I love it. I am pretty interested in India and I love the Mumbai Train posts. I am just excited by the number of people on the train reading a book!

Nimmy said...

Nice again. :-) Especially the school stories! Nostalgic for almost everyone reading this post, I am sure.

And...er...ahem....well...er...ahem...dash it...I must admit that I am one of those who does not want to be seen dead in a ditch with a CB book. One of his books was gifted to me by a close relative...so I did read it (3 Mistakes). And then a trusted friend said Two States was engaging...so I did pick that up. But I am contemplating giving off the second book to someone. The first one, being a gift, will remain with me. ;-)

PallSin said...

Thanks! Blogrolling you.

marja-leena said...

Fascinating series, Anil!

Shyamanga said...

It’s always a pleasure to read your posts. Got me nostalgic, especially Nilesh and James Hadley Chase. At school, there was a pretence to read ‘classics’ when the heart rather yearned to savour the offerings by Hadley Chase, Harold Robbins, etc.

Talking about book’s jacket covered in newspaper, a colleague recommended me to read the V-Day edition of The Vagina Monologues. He had neatly wrapped it in newspaper when he passed me the book in office. My questioning look just got me a shrug in response.

The guy in the funky Ts, camouflage trousers, CB on his lap, busy jabbing away on his cellphone is quite a package. The adage is a cracker.

Anonymous said...

what an interesting post idea. and what interesting folks... i am rather impressed that people are still reading on mass transport. i though people preferred yack-yack on their phones.
curious to know if bombay stations have good book shops/kiosks? am not familiar with bombay or its stations.

Anil P said...

Rebecca: Thank you. Then you must visit India sometime. Many people still do read on the local trains, but more people don't.

Nimmy: Thank you. I can well imagine the school memories.

I'm not sure how well stocked school libraries are these days. From what I knew of then, much of the book selections found in school libraries were those sourced on recommendations of school teachers, mostly English teachers. So it helped to have school teachers who read widely.

It should be possible to find someone to get rid of your Chetan Bhagat copy :-)

Pal Sin: Thank you.

Marja-Leena: Thank you.

Shyamanga: Thank you. A pleasure to be told that.

The classics, yes. The snobbery of 'reading classics' at school I can identify with. It also extended beyond the 'classics' to titles that were supposedly a little bit too 'high' for lesser mortals who hadn't gotten beyond Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and how the 'elite' readers left no stone unturned to convey to the rest :-)

Aha, another 'covered book' story, and for that title in the office I'm not surprised :-)

Quite a character, isn't he?

Ummon: Thank you. On Mumbai local trains they do read, but mostly they're on the phone. The Gujju bhai on business calls or trading stock market information, the youngsters, on the line with friends and girlfriends, else busy listening to music or smsing.

Most of the book readers are from the earlier generation.

Wheeler bookshops are to be found at almost every station on the Bombay suburban network, but not much of a choice of titles.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Thanks for visiting my blog recently, I appreciate it. Your series sounds so interesting--I've added you to my reader.

Anonymous said...

awesome post. i'll have to start paying attention to what my fellow commuters around me are reading. i'm usually engrossed in my own book. ;-)


Anil P said...

Diane: Thank you. It's a pleasure.

Paz: Thank you. That too should be an interesting exercise :-)

Gill - That British Woman said...

I find this a very interesting post. I personally do not commute to work, as I don't work outside of the house. However my dd commutes by underground train, or the subway as we call it in Toronto. I must ask her to take note of what people are reading here.

Gill in Canada

dr.antony said...

Reading great mind-bending books while on the road is an incredible way to shoot an already intense experience into the stratosphere.Reading has to be the best leisure activity for travelers and is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of mainstream living which, after all, is why we travel and take vacations in the first place.

I enjoy reading while travelling too.I haven’t read at such a pace any other time, except for brief periods in high school and college, where I was obligated to read and analyze one after another (i.e. the task was stressful and unpleasurable). Reading now, with no assignments, no penalties for not memorizing names of all the characters, and no nonsensical deconstruction, opens the door to parts of the mind closed by rigid academia.
I was always curious about what others were reading as well.Sometimes, it is the easiest way to get introduced to popular books.But I always felt a bit shy at that task.As if prying in to someone's privacy.
Unusual topic,but the usual unparalleled style.keep on writing !!

V said...

Really nice read, and as usual great pictures :)

I was expecting Chetan Bhagat in there, and he didn't disappoint. I was seen in a Chennai train with Two States and people gave me a weird lookd!

And interesting to note that lot of Mumbaikars read books on the train, I thought it was the phone (but signals get cut!)

And a train is the best place to read books, you are kinda cut off from the rest of the world, if you are alone and gives you some time for yourself :)

Chinkurli said...

As he flipped the pages I caught sight of the title – The 3 Mistakes of My Life, a tacky campus book by Chetan Bhagat. No wonder he had the book jacket wrapped up in a newspaper.

Hahahahah! I can see why he wanted that. And the man who's reading even when he isn't sitting down - he must really be a die-hard Dan Brown fan!

Jenny Girl said...

This is so interesting. First off, great job on taking pics but I guess it's kind of easy with all the cell phones and blackerries nowadays. Glad I don't have one of those.

I enjoy reaidng about other places and cultures so thank you. plus you gave me some great books to add to my tbr. Except for Digital Fortress, I'll pass. Not my cup of tea. Enjoyed Brown's other ones, but not that one. And yes I think daVinci Code got adults reading again.
Enjoy your weekend :)

Anil P said...

Gill: Thank you. I think she would have an interesting list to share were she to make one of folks reading books in the underground train.

Dr. Anthony: Thank you. Reading anywhere is a fun practice. I usually do not read when on the road, am usually stuck to the window watching the landscape go by.

Lakshminarayan Viju: Thank you. He is some kind of a flavour at the moment.

Travellers riding the Mumbai local trains are on phone quite a lot too, either talking or listening to music, or playing games on mobile phones. Or smsing and checking mails though the latter is not as common as the other pursuits on the mobile phone.

Chinkurli: Many people read standing up, maybe that takes away the strain of travelling and having to stand for lack of seating space on account of crowds.

Jenny Girl: Thank you. Nothing is as easy as it seems or looks, certainly not on the crowded Mumbai local trains.

After reading The Da Vinci Code most folks would find a transition to Brown's Digital Fortress an entirely diferent experience, possibly an alien one too.

Anonymous said...

Love this series. Looking forward to the next one.

Amber Star said...

I was not familiar with the author you hold in high esteem, so looked it up on the computer. How handy was that. I found a picture in Wikipedia with this caption:

Violinist Yehudi Menuhin and author Paulo Coelho, at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, in 1999

So he was in very good company indeed.

I'm not a book snob...I read what I like and if it is something I happen upon that catches my interest. 'The Help" is one I just finished and found it to be a very good book and it brought back the evils of rascism and the author was able to impart the fear that went along with being a friend of another race. It was a real fear that I remember. The Klan was around as well as The Legion of Decency, still is, but now I read what I like when I like and do not answer to anyone for the books I have in my home or the ones I get from my local library. Oops sorry I got off on a tangent there.

I guess Dan Brown is pretty interesting. I read the book and saw the movie, but for some reason I already knew all the end of the book. My step father's family were Masons and I feel that when I was a girl I heard more than I thought I did.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Anil

your post is indeed a good read! i am the mumbai local train blogger and wonder why i thought abt writing nything on this though i tend find out the titles of the books people in my compartment read while travelling :)

Amrit said...


Waiting for next post on it. How did you manage to take so many pictures? Did they pose for it?

Anil P said...

Inktales: Thank you. There'll be more.

Amber Star: I don't have an opinion on Paulo Coelho, not an author I would read if I had a better choice.

I've read The Da Vinci Code. Haven't seen any movies based on his books.

Interesting to know your step father's family were Masons.

Bombay-local: Thank you. We could all write on different topics so we can bring unique perspectives to bear of our surroundings.

A: Hopefully sooner than later. No, not posed.

What About The Girl? said...

John le Carré's "A Most Wanted Man" could possibly become a film adaptation someday!

Ida/FarEastLogbook said...

So many great book ideas here. Thank you!!

Anil P said...

TGF Cherry Blossom Street: Very possible. It's tailor made.

Ida Nielsen: Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I know the dude reading Le Carre.. A voracious reader is he.. Has travelled almost daily from Mulund to Dadar to Vile Parle for 5 years and you can see how he uses his time!

Anil P said...

Anon: If he's picking up books by the likes Le Carre and the rest that's enough to keep him engrossed for another five years. :-)

Ram said...


Just chanced upon your blog. Amazing snippets of Bombay life you've captured in these two posts. I also tremendously loved your Taxi post.

Being a die-hard Bombayite but now moved to Bangalore, reading your posts made me miss Bombay even more.


Shridhar Kulkarni said...

hi anil, just discovered your blog. Its great how you're trying to capture the reading habits in the local trains. Though right now i'm not in mumbai, i'l try to do a similar thing in bangalore.

Anil P said...

Ram: Thank you. It's a pleasure to know you enjoyed reading the posts.

Shridhar Kulkarni: Thanks, Shridhar, for your kind words. It's heartening to learn this post is inspiring you to do a similar thing in Bangalore.

sony said...

What's wrong in reading a Chetan Bhagat book? I think they are very entertaining.
Some of the authors that a ‘self respecting reader’ shouldn't be reading are the authors of the books like "Oh SHit, Not Again", "Of Course I love u, till I find smone better", "Anything for you Ma'am", "Almost Single", etc...Not only the stories are pathetic but they have desperately tried to copy the Chetan Bhagat

Neha said...

I love your idea of taking pictures of the readers. Very Interesting