The library in our den downstairs. If you wonder how I arrange the books, it’s interesting and I’ll tell you about it another time. To the extreme left there’s the drawing table and the stand for the water colors. 

I missed the little refrigerator and bar to the extreme left beyond the stand, where fat bottles of Porto Rei reside, like squabbling little sisters. (Wine is female).

There’s no place in the world – other than Scarlett Johanssen’s bedroom – that I would rather be, than in here. 


I am always on the lookout for very old books and guess what, I have a shelf full of ‘em – books printed around the turn of the 19->20th Centuries. My source is Nova, the second-hand book store by the riverside.

Take the War and Peace for example. It says it was printed in 1905, so this book is 113 years old already. And guess what I found inside – a bookmark from that age!!! It is so quaint that it is absolutely amazing. I got the book at Nova for $2 and I am willing to sell it, along with the bookmark for $5000, in crinkly green smackeroonies (no negotiation please).

Just spread the word, okay? I hate reading Tolstoy anyway. Were it not for the profit motive, I wouldn’t touch it even if you gifted me with a diamond-encrusted barge pole.

And to anybody making plans to steal it, I’ll have you know I have a Mauser automatic with a pearl handle, a hacksaw that is specifically meant for cutting through bone and a Dobermann Pinscher named Hagar who is scarier than the ones you saw in “The spy who loved me”. Oh and I forgot the pinch of Plutonium-210 crystals that are dying ta spew alpha particles into anyone who comes close.


What about Byatt’s “Possession”? I found this intriguing gift card inside that said, “To Mom, Love, from Brian.” No dates on it.

That sounded curt, I said ta myself. I cannot imagine a gift card to a mom that does not have the word “dearest” in it.

At least he hand wrote the word ‘love’. Moms are everything, aren’t they? Moms make me mellow. Moms make me good. Thinking of moms make me cry. Except some moms, the young ones who come to the primary school next door to pick up their kids, they turn me on. I am a dirty old man, I am. We have a fraternity.

Maybe Brian had a mom who left his father for the mailman and he reconnected with her only after he had grown up, thus the lack of attachment. But thanks anyway, Brian. I’ll cherish your little card but you are a fookin jerk for not wanting to keep the book with you. I still have my mom’s postcards from 1975. They are dog-eared and the fountain pen ink has smudged, but I still sense the feel and the smell of unconditional love in them.

Maybe he was her stepson. Oh, yeah, that must be it. Stepson…hmmmm…… She musta bin his father’s fifth wife. Maybe she had been his age – young, coquettish, flirty and just maybe they had a fling too – when Dad was out, mowing the lawn. Might explain the topic of the book and the contrived coldness in the tone of the card. What do you thinka that?


Then there’s A.J.Cronin’s masterpiece, “The Citadel”, which a Madge appears to have presented to a Bob sometime in 1947. No specific date, just March 1947. That’s a bit odd. If you’re giving someone a birthday present, wouldn’t you mention the exact date? (The copyright page says it was printed in 1945).

Probably cousins, this Bob guy and this Madge broad, but I would guess they were brother and sister-in-law. Polite, not overly affectionate, stand-offish even. Perhaps they had had a fling when Dick sailed to Europe on work on the QE2 or maybe Dick was in the marines and just got posted to Hono Lulu and one thing led ta another.

So now Bob and Madge decided to bury it so Dick wouldn’t end up getting hurt.

But it had been delicious while it lasted. Take that day when Bob came visiting, ostensibly to check up on his little sis-in-law if she needed anything while Dick was away. Bob had always been flirtatious and Madge was what we Bengalis like ta term the “shundor dekhte shali”. And between Dick and him, he was the better looking one, so let’s face it – she had a crush on him. This time, Madge sensed that he was going to go through with it. And one thing was led by it’s nose to the other.

He had kissed her at first – not the usual brotherly peck on the cheek though. It was his tongue that she let intrude into her mouth, after some token resistence. He had held her to him and pushed her gently to the sofa where she had sprawled while he knelt and undressed her and then went down on her. Dick had never performed oral sex on her. Oops, that sounded like a pun, dinnit? Giggle. In any case, Bob’s ministrations were absolutely eclectic and resisting him didn’t even enter Madge’s mind. For the first time she experienced an orgasm that felt like the climax in Wagner’s “Gotterdamerung”. She was delighted when he didn’t stop but kept on pleasuring her as her spasms subsided.

Sorry, I was telling you about second-hand books and got carried away. Oral sex always does that to me. The Almighty Lord gave us the conventional way ta have sex – the missionary position – but what did he do right after? He made oral sex more erotic. Twisted bastard.


In Canada, every riverside has a second hand book store. Nova – where I volunteer on weekends, stocking shelves – is a nondescript, drab little doorway, tucked behind the boat supplies store next to the river. It seems like it doesn’t want ta have it’s presence known. If a brutish gentleman with Slavic features came in here, dressed in a drab crumpled grey suit and tried ta brush-pass nuclear bomb designs in a briefcase to ya, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid, so serpentine the joint looks.

Nova is a charitable organisation that collects second hand stuff that are left on it’s door steps and sells it to finance soup kitchens and homeless shelters around town. In winters specially it needs all the help it can get. Nova is run by volunteers who are courteous and seem like they enjoy what they do. These volunteers are invariably wealthy retirees from the neighborhood, who have time on their hands and would like to make a difference.

Summers, Nova is busy busy busy. Old folks like me, who prefer the feel of turning the pages of a book in their hands instead of a tablet reader and students from the nearby John Abbott College squeeze past each other as they wander around the shelves, like wraiths in a cemetery. Outside, a gaggle of bikes fight for space on a single little bike stand that is so pathetic that one could simply lift the whole thing and drive away with it, if one wanted ta.

Nova actually has two sections – one with the books that I find myself in and the other with household stuff – knickknacks, dressing table doilies, wall hangings, paintings, crockery and cutlery, clothes, shoes, vinyl records, turntables and stuff that folks throw away. And table lamps – gott in himmel, there are millions of fookin table lamps. Everyone wants ta throw away their table lamps.

Being situated in an upscale neighborhood, the stuff at Nova is usually real classy – you won’t believe what people are capable of throwing away.

Nova fills my library at home. Thanks, Nova, for making me a happier individual.