Visiting Nova, the riverside second hand book store has it’s upside, specially if you collect books as a hobby. And if that store is situated in an upscale neighborhood, you won’t believe what people are capable of throwing away.

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.

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 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 hated reading Tolstoy anyway).

And to anybody making plans to steal it, I’ll have you know I used to work for the ITBP when I was in India and 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, I forgot the pinch of Plutonium-210 crystals that are dying ta spew alpha particles into anyone who comes close. (Remember Alex Litvinenko?)

What about Byatt’s “Possession”? I found this absolutely sweet gift card inside that said, “To Mom, Love, Brian.” No dates on it. That sounds 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, for crying out loud. 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. 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 to ostensibly 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 he was the better looking one, so let’s face it – she had a crush on him. This time, Madge sensed that he was goin to go through with it.

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 ecclectic 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.

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Nova fills my library. It is a charitable organisation that collects second hand stuff that are left on their 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 rich retirees from the neighborhood, who have time on their hands and would like to make a difference.

Thanks, Nova, for making me a happier and …. a hornier and more imaginative individual.