The Case of the Disappearing Bookstores

9:49 pm

Let's get past how melodramatic that title sounds and get to what is really annoying me these days. It really seems that slowly every bookstore in CP is closing down. I cannot imagine why, but there you have it.

Last year, Oxford Bookstore shut down. I loved that place. It was this charming little bookstore in Statesman House building which in itself is rather unique because Delhi, and especially CP, does not have charming little bookstores and certainly not well stocked charming little bookstores. But you, Oxford Bookstore was. It was lined with these beautiful rows and rows of bookshelves and if you went there rather early in the morning, you could just sit in between those shelves and feel calm. And it had the sweetest little kids' section with those tiny chairs and oh, and those adorable books. I think one of things that I loved about that place so much was the coffee, or rather tea shop called Cha Bar attached to the bookstore. Even though you couldn't browse the books while you sat in the Cha Bar, still, how many sweet bookshops are there in Delhi that have a nice, decent and spacious seating space where you can sit & look at the books and stare out of the enormous windows and look at the chaotic city down below. Where? And they tore it down about one year ago. So now when I'm tired & am having one of those days, I don't have a place in CP to feel calm again (the never-ending construction work doesn't help). Initially my friends and I thought that perhaps they were renovating the shop but one year later, I've almost no hopes left for it's reopening.

Another bookstore that shut down is the New Book Store. It was in the inner circle in B block and very convenient to reach, or at least as convenient as it gets in CP. They had rather decent comic books collection. They had a lot of Tintin, Asterix and even those new editions of Archie comics where Archie married Betty & Veronica. They had almost all the Agatha Christie's and a good collection of the classics. But then sometime in I think June last year, that bookstore shut down as well. Apparently (this is what I saw there last year) they were going to move to a new locations "soon" (one year later, I still have no idea where it is) and meanwhile we can order it on there new website. If I had to order a book online, I'd simply use Flipkart, won't I?

Oh then there was this teeny tiny bookstore on top of an Archies Gift Shop in the outer circle which shared it's space with an ice cream parlour. But about two days ago, I discovered that even that has shut down & now only and specifically stocks Children's books. Which was lucky because I wanted to buy The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton for our next Book Club meeting. But still, what on earth! There will be times when I would want to read books that aren't specifically written for kids.

Of course there still are bookstores in CP. But they are all tucked away in such a corner that most people don't get to know about them. I once couldn't find Mansfield Park anywhere in CP and ended up buying it from a bookstore that claimed only to sell Law Books and Competitive Exam Books going by their display window, but has a somewhat hidden upper floor where they keep fiction! Still, all these shops are set in the old pattern. They are rather, how do you say? Damp? I mean, not damp but you know, they give that feeling. And no seating space. I wish bookstores such as those would come up soon. 

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