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Delhiwale: A rare, devoted book lover of bookless Balbir Nagar extension

Mohit Jain’s tiny room is crammed with novels and poetry books that he has acquired online.

delhi Updated: Jan 12, 2018 12:30 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhiwale,Dilliwale,Balbir Nagar Extension
Mohit Jain at his room in east Delhi locality of Balbir Nagar Extension.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

The neighbours are sniggering. Even his parents sometimes wonder.

Why has their grown-up son crammed so many novels and poetry books into his tiny room here in the east Delhi locality of Balbir Nagar Extension (near Loni Road)?

And not just any books. We’re talking about great authors like Marquez, Pessoa and Ishiguro that absolutely nobody within walking distance would read. (Or even hear of). As he tells us.

“I know they’re laughing at me!” smiles Mohit Jain, 27. He seems just a bit uncomfortable as we talk, here in his windowless book-lined bedroom in a neighbourhood without bookshops, which makes this room even more special. (If you really need to know, the nearest bookstore, he says, is in faraway Connaught Place.)

Mr Jain confesses to not being used to visitors, claiming to be friendless except for two Facebook pals, who share his literary passions.

He has acquired his beautiful editions mainly online, and never attends all those book launches in Delhi where he could so easily spot famous writers. “I just can’t be in a crowd,” he sheepishly confesses.

Mr Jain’s days tend to be swallowed up by a job in faraway Gurgaon, usually finding time to read only on the long Metro train commutes.

But now life has changed. He has quit the job to prepare for his Philosophy Masters, armed with the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy on his bedside table (a handsome flickable hardbound).

Also on his agenda are the entire works of Shakespeare, but really, what’s the purpose of all this reading if it has nothing to do with the career? We put the question to him in all seriousness. Mr Jain bursts into uninhibited laughter, saying, “That’s exactly what the neighbours tell my parents!”

First Published: Jan 11, 2018 14:19 IST