5 paise

I 'saw' the cover of this book in my mind's eye as I was walking up on the flat roof of our house one evening: 5-paise coins in a harlequin pattern. My late, thrifty mother-in-law left a bag of coins behind. The smallest denominations have all been demonetised now, as inflation has taken their value away. But I like their varied shapes.

Making a little book like this -- 4.5" x 6.5" -- doesn't take much time, but I like to think lazily about how it should be, and how to go about it; to anticipate.

I cut the covers from an old book, and folded the pages. I used various inkjet papers in white and neutral colours. There are six sections/signatures. I painted, collaged and numbered the first page of each one. The third signature has an Urdu number 3, just to give the person turning the pages a little surprise, and a photograph I took of Badshahi masjid in Lahore. The Urdu text is a recipe for egg-and-tomato pulau, because I didn't want to tear a page out of a book of poetry.

I measured and punched holes, put eyelets in the covers, washed the coins and glued them on. Then I kept everything ready in a small basket -- covers, paper, curved needle, waxed linen thread.

Sewing the book took about 15 minutes. And now... what? It waits.