After a gap of many months I dropped by the bookshop Giggles. Nalini, the person who runs the shop suggested various titles and I took my time looking around. If you know Giggles you will understand that ‘looking around’ is not to be taken as a particularly perfect way to spend a balmy September afternoon. Once you know what is at stake, you might want to go to Landmark instead and Nalini will hold no hard feelings against you. Well Nalini is like that and more so, Giggles is like that! The books are stacked from the floor to the roof, so towers of books gently rest on each other all along the narrow room to make a formidable wall with a narrow passage. I pick my way through with my waistline that I toil hard to maintain for the sole purpose of gaining Nalini’s approval. If a pile is upset while I walk up and down the ramp in search of titles, Nalini knows what to blame. If you want to pull out a book that is at your eye level, it calls for a lot of care. Nalini is very cool about getting any book from the pile for you. She is ensconced in her seat and has to make various adjustments if she wants to come out, like moving away a few bulky coffee table books, squeezing between her table and a tower of books that reclines towards her in a comradely fashion. She does that sometimes, now she has rated me a pro in pulling books without causing a landslide, she just gives a few suggestions: “Uma, move Vikram Seth from there, leave Rushdie – he is OK, just hold him tight and press him down, now pull the book you want.” There are many books that I have retrieved in this fashion, holding and caressing various authors – just following blindly Nalini’s instructions.