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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

the wisdom of a book seller - Triplicane story !

What is intelligence ? – what is wisdom ? – is that related to one’s education only – does that come by early education in great institutions !! – what happened to daily wage earners and small shop owners during Covid ? – Qs, Qs and more! – this post is on this man appearing in this photo .. and my admirations !

At Thiruvallikkeni (anglicised Triplicane) – there are famous roads – Beach Road (now Kamarajar Salai), Bells Road, Triplicane High Road (Tram Road), Dr Besant Road and Bharathi Salai ………… even today, for those living in Triplicane, the Barathi Salai, is remembered by its earlier name ‘Pycrofts Road’.  The road winds from Presidency College / Marina Ground, Triplicane Bus stand, Victoria Hostel, Gosha Hospital, many Book publishing shops (and platform shops selling old priceless books in evening), Ratna Café, Zambazaar, Amir Mahal, an ancient house once visited by Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose and more… about some decades ago, it had some famous photo studios – Chandrika, Vanitha, Pandian ….and cloth shops like Popular Swadeshi Stores (sadly it longer exists as is Murali Café)

In criminology, examining why people commit crime is very important in the ongoing debate of how crime should be handled and prevented. The occurrence of a crime depends on two things: the presence of at least one motivated offender who is ready or willing to engage in a crime, and the conditions of the environment in which that offender is situated, to wit, opportunities for crime. All crimes require opportunity but not every opportunity is followed by crime.  

Then most killers know their victims and plan to execute the crime. Generally disgruntled affairs, property disputes, jealousy, family squabble, public squabble, political rivalry, crime and more are given as reasons for murders.  Rarely, (that too in Western Countries) – there are random killings, killing with the 'thrill' of taking a human life.  In the interesting ‘The King of Torts’  of  John Grisham, the hero  takes on the case of Tequila Watson, a man accused of a random street killing.

The King of Torts (2003) written by  John Grisham remained in the top 15 for over 20 weeks of its debut.   In the thriller, Clay Carter,  a poorly paid public defender reluctantly takes on the case of Tequila Watson, a man accused of a random street killing. Watson insists that he somehow wasn't in control of his body when he pulled the trigger, a story which Clay tries to dismiss, but can't get out of his mind.  It leads to a drug named Tarvan;  drug addicts  experimented on illegally by an unnamed pharmaceutical company, and mass law suits that follow!

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town is a 2006 true crime book by John Grisham, his only nonfiction title as of 2020. The book tells the story of Ronald 'Ron' Keith Williamson of Ada, Oklahoma, a former minor league baseball player who was wrongly convicted in 1988 of the rape and murder of Debra Sue Carter in Ada and was sentenced to death. After serving 11 years on death row, he was exonerated by DNA evidence and other material introduced by the Innocence Project and was released in 1999.  

I am so fond of Sujatha, the great intellectual writer, who raised the level of Tamil novels to hitherto untouched echelons.  His brainchild Ganesh-Vasanth lawyers, possessed the best brain, but perhaps owned a Premier Padmini car !  ~ in English fiction,  things are far different.   Have read a couple of English novels; by John Grisham.  In ‘the Summons’,  Ray Atlee, is a law professor with a good salary at the University of Virginia. He has a brother, Forrest, and a father, known to many as Judge Reuben V. Atlee. Ray is sent to his father's house in Clanton, Mississippi, to discuss issues regarding the old man's will and estate.    In such stories, heroes would upon realizing a good earning would buy a Ferrari, a Private Jet, a red Lockheed at that.

John Ray Grisham Jr.   is an American novelist, attorney, politician, and activist, best known for his popular legal thrillers. His books have been translated into 42 languages and published worldwide. Grisham graduated from Mississippi State University and received a J.D. degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1981. He practiced criminal law for about a decade and served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1984 to 1990. His first novel, A Time to Kill, was published in June 1989, four years after he began writing it. According to Academy of Achievement his books have sold 300 million copies and he has written 28 consecutive number one bestsellers. Grisham's first bestseller, The Firm, sold more than seven million copies .. ..

this is no post on John Grisham or English novels.  Covid 19 did affect people economically, many were not able to earn as shops and establishments remained closed and business was affected badly.  .. .. now shops are open – in Pycrofts road, in the evening one could find many platform shops selling School/college books and many others .. .. and you could find some priceless treasures too.

A couple of days back,  was amazed at the answer given by this gentleman selling books on the road platform nearer Murali café in Pycrofts Road, Triplicane.  Just as I was gleaning the books, he started the conversation stating – many English novels are available.  As I zeroed on ‘The confession’ of John Grisham – he said, there are more Grisham books available with him.

Awestruck – I asked him – whether he reads those books and how come, he knows John Grisham by name.  The answer was simple – ‘we go by the demands’ – sir.  Often people ask and that way, I know, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Jeffery Archer .. .. .. .. and added that he has Kolaiyuthir kalam, En iniya iyanthira and Sorgatheevu of Sujatha !

By the looks, the man would not have completed his school and would have been forced to try many a jobs trying to make ends meet – really appreciate the spirit, sales skills and knowledge of this bookseller. Perhaps he is not alone, a couple of years back (when was searching for some Engineering books) met Kalaiarasan in Moore market – who could reel out the syllabus and books of various disciplines of Engineering, could recall the price of the book, quoting half of that and .. .. surprised me no ends by stating the price of a particular book to be Rs.950 – quipping, this is a British publication, you can scan the code and convert the rate in British Pounds to Rupees and pay half of that to me.

Wisdom is not learnt in Schools and books – lot of that is available with such people like these  book-sellers too !! Respects and regards to all those possessing conventional and practical wisdom !! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
31st July 2021.


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