Waiting at the Lower Parel station, I decided to kill time by browsing at the roadside stall selling pirated copies of bestsellers. After a few false tries, the man found a pattern in my reading and recommended four books in a row that I had read and liked. He was on a roll, and named three other books which he did not have, but which I had liked.
Recognising me for the book slut that I am, he proudly announced, “Madam, give me the name of any book that you want, and I can get it for you. Because of the rains I don’t keep a massive stock here, but I can lay my hands on every single book.”
I was almost tempted to call his bluff by mentioning some esoteric book that was no longer in print, but desisted. I was impressed by his professionalism, his enthusiasm, his initiative, and his intuitive understanding of books he had never read nor was ever likely to.
I am almost tempted to pick up ‘Imagining India’ from him but the principle of book piracy holds me back.
Which is more important - supporting an entrepreneur or respecting the rights of the author? I am sure losing royalty on the Rs. 575 book is not going to make too much of a difference to Nandan Nilekani, but Rs. 50 would mean a lot to the book seller.
Watch this space…..