We love books. We hate facts. The sad trend of closing down of book-shops must be a matter of concern for all of us. Last month, two of my favourite book-shops-Fact and Fiction at Vasant Vihar and Spell and Bound at SDA Market, closed down. Apparently, the lease had ended for both and it was not a lucrative business anymore with massive mushrooming of online portals like Amazon, Flipkart and onset of Kindle reading.
What do we loose, we think? A lot. Since times immemorial, book-shops have been a cultural symbol, an icon of the social order in which one deliberately reflects on the times bygone as well as creates a space for new ideas and generations. Reading spaces are significant for our development and growth as individuals. The silent deaths of book-shops bespeak of a looming danger – of living in a society which is driven only by gadget race, material madness and senseless competition.
‘Spell and Bound’ was one of my favourite places because it breathed literature in every nook and corner. True to its name, it did cast a spell on anyone who visited it and the perfectly selected quotes from literary giants across time, did bind one to the timelessness of literature.The kind of hard-work that would have gone in creating this beautiful literary space can only be imagined by its wooden framed plaques of renowned writers , the mesmerising quotes written spirally over the spiral staircase and elegantly arranged titles with frequent suggestions on the contemporary trends in literature.
My sadness seeped into the very corners which I was going to miss. Empty shelves spoke to me – as if pleading to get back what they had lost- a generation of words. What can I do- I ask myself? I can just imagine myself to make it a point to visit a bookstore every weekend and buy a book. The ocean may never miss the drop , but it will be surely less because of its absence.