So I just made it back from Delhi, where I spent six weeks visiting family and friends. It was an emotional experience as I was returning to my native country after five long years spent mostly in Southeast Asia and North America.
My trip coincided with the Delhi edition of the World Book Fair. India is not just a buzz word among investors and IT people but also in the publishing world where many believe that it is the most important emerging market. Therefore, the Book Fair was a major event.
Being one of the key events of the year in the global publishing calendar, important events were scheduled around it, such as mergers between publishing houses, book launches, cocktails, parties, conventions, seminars, high teas etc. And, I was fortunate to have access to some of them. I also managed to talk to various senior executives in the field.
One thing that struck me amidst all the glitz and glamour, the deal-making, the hand shakes and back slapping was the unusually high demand and supply of self-help books. Everyone from Indians in American B-schools, middle-level corporate executives to CEOs of large corporations were writing one and everyone was reading them. It appeared that if a book did not promise immense wealth and power for everyone through five easy steps, a secret, magic or a key to power then it was a waste of time.
Surely this is nonsensical I thought. But, everywhere I looked, people were interested in a quick fix. Skimming through the flood of texts my fears were confirmed: no one was talking about the things that actually make a difference: reading a great book, or discovering a new philosophy, or connecting with yourself or falling in love, or getting a job, or making a friend who understands you, or playing a sport, or travelling, or sleeping in, or having a nice dinner with your partner or a few drinks with friends or learning to make a new dish.
There is really only one way to live, which is to love and respect your self and that is not a quick fix.
- Showcase: A treat for booklovers (thehindu.com)