In one of the scenes Sanjeev Kumar is showing reading a book by Ernest Hemingway. For quite some time I try to figure which book it is, and then during a close up, I see it is Byline. It is a collection of Hemingway's journalism and dispatches from war fronts. The book is no longer available in Indian bookstores. At least I have never seen a copy. But I proudly possess a hardcover edition; and that's because I stole it. Well, stealing is not the right word here -- it is just that I did not return it to its rightful owner. Had the owner been a Hemingway enthusiast or a serious reader, I would have never borrowed the book in the first place. But I had borrowed the book from the Kanpur Public Library, and as the stamp had indicated, the book was last borrowed in the 1960's. Since no one was interested in the book for 30 years, I reasoned, no one would be interested in the future as well.
My reasoning was correct: books are the least sought-after commodity in Mulayam Singh Yadav's Uttar Pradesh. Byline is at least safe in my shelf: my heart would have broken if I had found myself eating samosas off one of its pages.