Looking for a particular book at home yesterday I realised something strange. I have developed a strange affection for bookmarks.It’s strange because I’ve never been a bookmark person. When I need to mark my place in anything I read, I shove in whatever’s handy – a credit card receipt, a scrap of paper, an envelope or bill, a business reply card of the kind that sometimes falls out of magazines. But usually, nothing that’s specifically a bookmark.
So where did all these bookmarks come from? Well.
At Crossword in Bangalore, they sometimes slip four or five bookmarks into your purchases. Not all the time, but fairly often. Landmark never did before, but the last time I was there, I returned with a stack of bookmarks, shoved within the pages of one of the books I’d bought. And Flipkart.com, at least at first, always had a bookmark placed within the pages of every single book you ordered.
I have occasionally used one of these bookmarks, but otherwise they’ve (obviously) been collecting quietly in a corner of my bookcase and now I have stacks of them. An envious collection to say.
This makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t like keeping things that I don’t use – that becomes clutter. And I don’t like clutter. (I note that the older I get, the more minimalist I become.) It’s not that I’ve never had bookmarks in my life. When I was a kid, I used to land up in St. Paul’s and buy them in hordes and I remember this one bookmark quite a gorgeous one. But I never used it as a bookmark. I kept it among my treasures to look and stare and feel proud at every now and then. Do not know what’s happened to it by now. Meanwhile, I used receipts, envelopes and scraps of paper for bookmarks.
This lot that I’ve collected is nothing like the one I’ve described above. These are vehicles for advertising, though some of the Crossword ones have lovely quotes about books, such as “Never judge a book by its movie” and “Wear the old coat, buy a new book”. They are entirely expendable.
So the next time the raddiwalla calls for old newspapers, he’ll also be given a bunch of bookmarks.