Confessions of a Shopaholic


“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”

– Comrade John*

* – sources report that this may be a misquote.

There is a periodic fluctuation that casts its spell on me, a time when I listen to only the greats – Lennon, Clapton, Hendrix, Ozzy, David Gilmour – and grow a beard and wear crumpled up cotton kurtas and give up worldly pursuits in general. These fluctuations are like the phases of the moon, they come and go; only, they are much less capable of adhering to a schedule.

Such times test my resolve with the strongest of temptations – reading. Far too often has a summer evening gone past by when I’ve wanted to ignore the demands of a working day beckoning me in the morning and retire to the confines of my collection, reading deep into the night, and emerging from a warm blanket only when the day’s start was well past.

My sister tells me that I’m far too young to be fantasizing about retirement.

But there is a greater ailment that claws my heart. You see, I am a obsessive, compulsive, shopaholic. I buy (far) more books than I can read. I know there’s a word for this, but I’m too lazy to Google it up, don’t bother.Ever Jan, I set up an annual target on Goodreads for a *reading challenge*, and by April concede that I won’t be making it this year – but next year…

A sworn brother of my order sends me an article from a journalist whom we both adore, and I am compelled to buy the latest commentary on the “Darbar”, written by another journalist whom we both adore. A scholar of great renown shares an article on Wodehouse, and I am consumed by the nostalgia of nights spent audibly giggling over the antics of Bertie. The Hon’ Governor – राघोबा दादा -mentions Thomas Pikkety,  and I have that familiar pang of guilt of not having read “Capital” visit me yet again. I am gifted a book of travel poetry to accompany me on my latest journey, and it stares back at me from my table, accusing me of promises left half-filled. And where would I be without my love for History? Hemchandra Raychaudhari’s beautiful, cream-colored “Political History of Ancient India” with its thick, *white egg-shell* (ref.: Christian Bale in American Psycho) and the huge sheet of genealogy that folds up on the inside begs to be opened. Kaushik Basu writes a new book and it stares at me from the front lines of every book shop. Hussain Haqqani is a man that I admire, a man of learning, an intelligent man, a balanced mind – and his titles keep flooding my list, stagnant, unmoving.

And what about the literary greats? Proudly have I bought Joseph Heller’s “Something Happened” (“after all, can’t read *just* Catch-22”). But it lies dormant. Harper Lee wrote her sequel – which, thankfully, I gobbled up in time before her sad demise. Julian Barnes writes a new one, and I need to buy it. The 2015 Man Booker Winner is supposed to revolve around Bob Marley, and we can’t let that go past by, can we now? And as I search for who won the award last year, I realize that the “Narrow Road to the Deep North” evades me. We go to a book store and I try to show off (let’s face it, who doesn’t love to impress?) and the number of unread titles that I get asked about unnerves me. And God save us all when either Rowling or GRRM make the cut.

It’s a very agitating process. It gets me restless and flustered. And I mean this for real.

तोह problem क्या हैं? (Fans of Kannan and Biswa’s “Pretentious Movie Reviews” will be familiar with the import of this particular phrase).

Problem दो हैं.

One – lugging it around. And no, I’m not going to switch to a Kindle. No matter how *ergonomic* it is. अंग्रेझोन के जमाने में, bureaucrats would travel with attendants and aluminium trunks and have carriages all to themselves. Good luck to us – 21st century Babu-lok – to be able to find someone to help lug that metal abomination down the stairs and into a truck. Also, it’s adorable to think we can afford the cost of transporting something that heavy across stations.

Just joking – I think.

And two – time. Yes, I know it’s a silly excuse, and I should not be whining. But it’s true. If only I could run multiple processors in my mind. But I can’t. If I could, I would dedicate one *me* solely to the mundane task of surviving from one day to another – you know, getting up, getting ready, having meals, sleeping. The other *me*s would be dedicated to other tasks.

Like it or not, there is always going to be something else to do. Between that struggle, we will have to carve out much-needed time. And that is the cause of much agony to this shopaholic.



  1. Perfectly written.
    My one friend ( Mr.Sanjeev Khandekar) shared this while discussing about books :- You may like it.
    “Reading is fun, sharing it with another avid reader is more fun. Sharing is what at the nucleus of our history of civilization. Sharing books, art, poetry.. are the higher traits . They create much stronger and long lasting bonds of warmth, understanding and therefore of love. I’m fortunate to get such love from many of my friends. .. Please don’t get pressured by number of recommendations. Keep them clipped, and read or browse them whenever u have space n time. Browsing is like playing with your pet… Or it is like noshing between the meals. Healthy. When I can’t read , I tell my friends to read and tell me about it. smile emoticon try it out. Good friends will love to feed you morsel by morsel… It can be as erotic or sensual as much as the …. Enjoy.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s