Recently, a huge literature festival titled Valley of Words concluded in the Doon valley where one came across a lot of “real” books and book stalls. There was a wonderful ambiance that made one get the old world feel and scent of books. Visitors to the fest gathered at the book stalls there and chatted over cups of tea and coffee with each other or with authors present there. It was heartening to see many youngsters browsing and also buying books at the festival stalls.
Whatever one may say about the convenience of buying and reading books online, there can never be any experience that can match being amid real book shops , buying real books.
I would like to share with my readers my feelings about what the conventional way of buying a book has meant to me and how important it has been in my life.
Beginning from childhood, being the daughter of parents whose entire world was focused on books, I was a regular visitor to book shops in the Doon valley. Natraj, English Book Depot, Book World and some other shops that were spread over the town of Dehra (and are still flourishing) were familiar destinations for me ever since I can remember. While my parents and brother went around the shelves to choose their books I would be seated on a stool somewhere to be kept out of the way. However, I was fascinated by the rows of colorful books and would manage to get a couple of comic books or fairy tale story books in hand, requesting my father to buy them for me. He would tell me that I would not be able to read them yet or understand them (I was in Kindergarten then). My insistence would make him give in and when we went home he would read out the stories to me and make me understand them to the extent possible. The visits to the book shops continued as I grew up in the then idyllic valley of Doon. As soon as I entered these shops I could sense a scent of books which, I am sure, all book lovers are quite familiar with. It is a unique scent –of books old and new- of books fresh from the press and of those whose pages have yellowed with age .The special atmosphere that a book shop exudes always enchanted me just as it does today.
There are some youngsters these days who have never had the good fortune of experiencing this typical environment of a book shop. Reading is not as popular a hobby as it once was. And even people who are fond of reading have resorted to e-books and online shopping for real books. I find this trend a bit sad and unnecessary too. What prevents people, I often wonder, from stepping into a book shop near their home and browse around real, actual books to peep inside them, look into their hearts and feel their soft pages before deciding which ones to take home. That is the least, I feel, a book deserves. The cosy comfort that books in a shop create with their presence in large numbers can never be felt through online shopping for them. It is simply not possible. There are many book shops that offer you the opportunity of sipping on coffee and sitting in comfort while browsing through the books. One can meet many like-minded people there and get into discussions about favourite books or favourite authors. It is a wholesome experience which we all need once in a while in our hectic lives –to calm us down, to make us get off the roller coaster that life has become for many of us these days. Believe me, you will never regret your visit to a book shop. It is one of the most soothing and pleasant things one can do –a favour to oneself.
Recently, a few of my friends were heard complaining that life has become too mechanical, people have stopped seeing each other, visiting each other, talking to each other. I feel that it is true. However, nobody else can help change this for us. We will have to take a few steps to turn back our lives to somewhere near where it was some years ago. Giving up our reluctance to move out of home and trying to make a bit of an effort to go to meet our friends, to visit the bazaar as we did to choose from various things before buying one, to step into the good old bookshops that are waiting to welcome us with their warmth and charm. Buy online books but also, do not forget the real bookshops completely. Read more posts…
Saturday, 01 December 2018 | Dehradun—
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