Hey all ! It’s been awhile since I posted anything here! Feels great to be back. Anyways, I have a pretty good topic to talk about here and I’m sure, at least some of you would approve of it.
You have been in your neighborhood for some time now and you know the shops, malls, smaller kiosks, schools, teaching centers etc etc around your home. I’ve been in Bangalore for about 6 months now and I see the surroundings utterly different from where I actually come from,Chennai. (Btw,I’m always a Chennai-ite) Anyways, the thing is, even though I’m a shut-myself-inside-my-home kind of girl, I know that some places, will always be there, however harsh the society around changes. One such place that I always love to go to, is MY LIBRARY.
Around my neighbourhood, West Mambalam, I know about 6 to 7 libraries that open at 9 in the morning and do not close until 10 in the night. Just passing by a library, even if I don’t have to borrow a book, feels so good and comforting. One such library, or say, a bookstore (that’s what they call), is about to close permanently and shift to a better place (I hope so). This is not a good news. NO. Not for people who love the rustic ambience, the feel of old yellow pages, its tattered corners, the racks and racks of books and journals that beckon us to stay close to the shelves, the tables and chairs that has people pouring into the pages, smiling unknowingly and sometimes, small outbursts like banging the table.. (Yeah, we all know that feel!).. No.. It sure is not a good news.
Here in Bangalore, I have not seen yet, a library or a book store that gives such an ambience, like the Landmark in Nungambakkam (about to close,sadly) in Chennai, Higginbothams in Mount Road, all the book stores in Airports (Oh, how I love those places.. I’ll come to that later). Amidst all the hustle and bustle in Chennai, with the sweatiness in this summer, there are few people who make it a point to stop by these places of comfort, just to buy a 10 Rs Kalki, Ananda Vigadan and the like, and the 7-8 Rs Archies, Tinkles, Nancy Drew’s and big novels! But in Bangalore, I’ve seen people with ipads and tablets and kids making a racket in libraries.. even the librarian shouts at the top of his voice, trying to bargain with customers for the borrowing price of the books.. Ufff, the irritation! The whole point of visiting a library is defeated. And they try (very hard) to stay quiet and sophisticated in crowded malls! Double ufff,the people here!
So, just a news of a small book store closing gives people like me the heebie-jeebiees. With the world spinning around with ipads, mobiles, kindles on its axis, real and genuine shops like these go into oblivion. Big shots have to understand that there are people who still prefer paperbacks to digital versions and bookstores and libraries, most of all. However old they get, the bond and the memories and the feel come back gushing to them in places like these. Friendships made in libraries, I’ve heard, lasts the longest and strongest. I don’t know how far this is true, but I like the thought. If one starts, the others are bound to follow suit and before you can realize what’s happening, there won’t be any places like these to talk about or to go to. How can elders tell us to teach our kids to read more books and visit more libraries, when none might exist when they actually come into the world ? Surely we cannot ask them to read from electronic kindles and e-books at the age of 5 for bed-time stories.
Recently I went to Chennai and to my good old library near my house, to just, pay a visit.
The librarian there asked, “Where have you been all these days ? Aren’t you gonna borrow books ? Doesn’t Amma want the latest edition of Kalki ?”
I said,” Anna, I have cancelled the membership with your library because I have moved to Bangalore for my higher studies. Your assistant closed my account.”
He said,” Oh no! I have lost yet another regular customer. (He’s not a money-only-in-mind kind of a person). Do you want to buy any books today ? I can order it for you, if it is not there, so you can collect it the next time you come here.”
I didn’t know what to say. I never knew he knew me so well with the kind of books I and my mom buy. Whenever I go there, I feel a sense of solitude, a sense of calmness and how ever long I stay crouched beneath those shelves, my library Anna knows exactly when I would leave with what sort of books. He would also give me few extra books for free, if I buy more than 5 or 6 novels. So, tags along my favorite Archies, for which I rarely pay!
There are so many memories that a bookworm like me has with book stores and libraries. I really wish the others don’t follow suit of Landmark, Nungambakkam. Let’s all join hands for more book stores and libraries to come up and maintain and cherish the old one’s for Pete’s sake!
I’m done for now. I have 2 books to complete now, which I have no faintest idea as to when I would finish. Curse my college routines! My to-read shelf is bursting.
P.S: I mentioned the Airport book stores above. Oh I just love to spend my waiting time there. Obviously and sadly, I won’t have the money to buy a book but I just go there to update my to-read shelf and listen to reviews from other waiting passengers. The usual tired-of waiting feel vanishes and the feel of hushed voices of parents deciding to buy children’s books for their toddlers in their trams, youngsters filling their bags with newly purchased books, guys sitting in waiting lounges and reading the newly-bought book, sets in.
Ummm.. Gotta run! I hear shouts from the other room!
And oh, I almost forgot. That feel when you sit by the window, legs pulled up, and you ease behind with a paperback, listening to the occasional dog barks, smell of earth indicating immediate drizzles and downpour of rain, dry leaves gushing into your room through the open window and sometimes you’ll use it as a book-mark.. Heaven-on-earth feel!
I should REALLY go now! Curse you,reality! (pounding fists madly in air)
Buhbye! Long live books and libraries!!
Cheers! Until next time!