Had a conversation with a young man selling a bunch of pirated books at a traffic signal.
I asked how much he makes per sale. He said Rs 50-75, depending on how hard people like us haggle. Pestered me to buy one. I said I don't buy 'nakli' (fake/pirated) books.
He said he too has to survive.
I told him I am a writer myself but am not making even Rs 2 on the kind of books he sells, why would I buy from him?
He paused, then said 'But you couldn't have written ALL these books. Buy one book which you have not written.'
Couldn't argue with that logic. So I laughed and shook my head. Then I said I will buy when you sell 'asli maal' (original/real stuff).
The traffic light changed to green. As our taxi sped away, he called out 'When people like me sell them at traffic signals, even asli books will look nakli to you'.
Still chewing on that one. Chewing hard and finding the truth of it stuck in my graw.
An interesting aside - 6 out of 8 'international bestsellers' being pirated and sold by these boys are non-fiction. That's another thing to chew on, eh?