Lost and found

SOME students at a course recently asked me how the right reviewers are found for books. Sometimes, determined books take charge and find their own reviewers. A reviewer had just collected an expensive photography book from The Hindu's offices in Delhi and driven away. After a while, he realised to his horror that it was not in his car. He retraced his steps and spent an hour in fruitless search on the street. Finally, defeated, he telephoned confessing the loss.

That afternoon a Mr R.K. Batra of Karol Bagh phoned The Hindu. He had watched a man absently put a book on the roof of his car, speak on his cell phone and then drive off, the book enthroned on the car's roof. Mr Batra gave chase, screeching to a halt when he saw the book fall off; he picked it up — but by then he had lost the car he was chasing.

Reading the address of The Hindu on the package, he telephoned. "It's a book heading for a newspaper," he said, "so I thought I must return it." What is most astounding about this? That someone actually thought a book important? Or, that he didn't just say a quiet "finders keepers" to himself?


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