Delhiwale: Litfest lady’s bookish den | delhi news | Hindustan Times
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Delhiwale: Litfest lady’s bookish den

Private capital: Author Namita Gokhle is one the world’s luckiest book hoarders. She is a co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival and writers send their new releases to her.

delhi Updated: Jul 03, 2017 10:08 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Author Namita Gokhale, at her home in south Delhi’s Safdarjung Development Area.
Author Namita Gokhale, at her home in south Delhi’s Safdarjung Development Area.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT PHOTO)

The books are everywhere, including under her bed.

One afternoon, we visit author Namita Gokhale at her home in south Delhi’s Safdarjung Development Area. “I don’t know how many books I have,” says Ms Gokhale, sitting on her drawing room sofa.

Ms Gokhale must be one of the world’s luckiest book hoarders. She is a co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, the winter-season carnival in which every ambitious writer plots to get an invite. They all send their new releases to Ms Gokhale. “But I also end up buying books,” she exclaims. “I mean I don’t get all the books I want to read for free.”

But where is the place to keep the books? Seventeen cartons are already lying in her daughter’s garage (one of her two daughters is at Penguin Random House). Her own house can be best described as a giant library. Book cartons are stacked even in the courtyard, where we spot a Joyce Carol Oates.

Ms Gokhale’s bedroom is filled with so many books that it is surprising to see a bed there. The hat rack is saddled with book bags she has hoarded over the years from various literary festivals.

But what does one do with all these books? A “heavy skipper” of contemporary literature, Ms Gokhale discloses her reading strategy: “Read the beginning, and if it’s good, move to the end pages, and if the final doesn’t disappoint, then go to the middle.”

And now the best part: Ms Gokhale is always happy to give away her books to people who really ‘feel’ for them. We feigned some feelings for two handsome hardbounds. They are both with us now.