Let’s start with the credits and acknowledgements: If it weren’t for his wife and son this writer would have never discovered Tara Books; and if it weren’t for Bruce Chatwin, he would have never been bitten by the Moleskine bug.
And, as it often happens in tales as true as this one, these two strands mark the beginning of the end of almost a decade of addiction to Moleskine notebooks—slim and leatherbound with smart elastic shoulder bands—and the discovery of the definitely-much-cooler Flukebook notebooks which make up for their rather downmarket name with an individualism that no other stationery product can hope to match.
The late Chatwin, for those who came in late, was probably one of the finest travel writers to have ever walked the earth and in one his books he wrote about his fondness for Moleskine notebooks setting off a mad rush for them.
Tara, founded in the early 1990s, has always produced very distinctive books through the use of natural (sometimes recycled) materials and local art forms. It has also published some really good children’s books including those by Anushka Ravishankar, who definitely has a sense of metre and cadence that rivals Dr Seuss’ (at least this writer’s son thinks so).
Noteworthy: The new and old
Sometime back, someone at the firm came up with the smart idea of producing Moleskine-like books, minus the leather binding. The Flukebooks are exactly the same size as the jacket-pocket sized Moleskines this writer prefers (and, like the Moleskine they have a smart pocket inside the back cover, although they do not have the elastic shoulder band). The young European lady manning the stall at the Delhi Book Fair where this writer discovered these books said that Tara didn’t want to use the band because that would have made these books too “alike” the Moleskines. Well, nothing can do that.
Unlike the Moleskine’s black binding, the Flukebook’s binding can be any colour and any pattern.
The paper inside the Flukebook is as smooth as that inside a Moleskine, and while the books this writer picked up were all the same inside—horizontal ruled—that is something the firm can easily set right by launching Flukebooks with plain and square-ruled sheets. Tara’s website, www.tarabooks.com/catalogue_stationery.asp#1, sells Flukebooks for Rs150 each.
PS: The lady at the Tara stall let this writer have three for Rs300 because he was visibly disappointed that there weren’t more to be had.