On Cabs, and Breads, and Libraries

I was booked to catch a Black and White cab (number 5579) back to the hotel so with that name I was sure that the cabs were coloured black and white. But they are not coloured black and white. They are black and yellow (of a greenish hue).  So imagine my dismay when a white car goes past that looks to me like a cab – it was all white with some black writing of sorts after all – with the numbers 1579. It didn’t stop and it sure seemed to be a public people mover. Then for the next ten minutes many other forms of transport came tootling and honking past but not a Black and White cab! The stress levels begin to rise! Thankfully the vehicle with the correctly numbered plates did arrive … but why aren’t they called Black and Yellow – not the incorrectly described Black and White! Cab solution solved for the first time I entered an Indian taxi – and what an experience. The cab was a four on the floor, stick shift, slightly worn dinted and shabby but in a quaint sort of way, with custom tailored cloth head rests, and with icons adhered to windows and assorted items perched on the dashboard or hanging from mirrors (beats the fluffy dice). But the most exquisite feature of these wonderful vehicles was the wonderful quilted ceilings of the cab. On paying my fare, it’s a fixed price not metered, to the hotel my driver told me that he was very pleased to have me in his cab, offered to me his business card and then told me that should I need a cab at any other time I could give him a call and – he would come most quickly to be at my service!

inside the taxi

inside the taxi

the taxi

the taxi

So to Bookaroo:- this morning was a delight meeting Aparna from the High Commission, discussing the plans for my next bunch of days and being driven to the festival (very nice car) which this year is located at the Indira Gandhi National Centre of the Arts. My first session was on a panel with Anushka, Anitha Ramkumar and the lovely Wendy Cooling (the last time we met was in London at the home of Marcia Williams). It was a session targeted for Librarians and we were chatting about Life in the Libraries discussing the ways that we have seen libraries come alive. Initially we thought we were chit chatting for 90 minutes but instead it was programmed for 2 1/2 hours! with still much talking continuing at the end. It took a little coaxing but in the last hour we were able to have contributions from the librarians in India sharing ideas and celebrating the joy that is children’s books. I highlighted ways that I have seen work in libraries around my years of school visits – like the reading throne, the reading tent, the accessioning of school created books, the ocean converted library to tie in with the national theme, and way much more. There was discussion about borrowing books, and methods for librarians sharing the information and even discussing books. They DONT have a listserve like OZTLnet or LMnet – yet. Hopefully we inspired them enough to set the wheels in motion for establishing one. It was just wonderful to hear the librarians sharing the activities that worked in their libraries. One of the librarians started her own private library and I meant to ask how she obtained her books. She has a wonderful doctoring programmed where every month (I think it is) users come  to repair the loved books. So successful is it that they are bringing in their own books to repair!

Session one for Bookaroo 6 for me was done and then I was sitting outside on concrete benches (sore or unpadded bottoms) being interviewed for the Pioneer Newspaper. I just love talking about books and writing and reading and go course ME! And it is a fact that no matter where I am in the world the questions are often the same, How to get kids to read, How to read to kids, What books I like, What i was like with regards to reading and books as a child … I just love it all. Then 35 minutes later the interview done which meant time for …

Food

Food

… Lunch – and more curry. Oh I do love the curries. So lovely and hot and spicey … and even more delightful was seeing the staff making the breads in the oven/kiln right outside the tent where our food was being served – now that is just about the freshest bread available! and it was exquisite!

Tonight was the Bookaroo festival dinner (more curries) … but first we had to get there, and suffice to say I am so glad that the High Commission had a car to take Aparna and me to the venue. The drivers do a brilliant job – they don’t use the horn and they are so very, very safe! There are so many horns blaring that I can’t work out where they are coming from – although I am starting to work out what the different vehicle horns sound like. My eyes remained open the whole time – but there were some might mighty close shaves.

And, tonight … what is wrong in Delhi? I have returned to the hotel and there is NO wedding reception underway … and Fridays are a most popular night for the wedding receptions I am most reliably informed!

Day 2 Bookaroo – done!

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