Monday, May 29, 2006

Save the pavement bookshop run by Alwar and Ramanan on Luz Church Road, Mylapore

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It was Saturday and I was scouring for bodybuilding and fitness magazines in the city. I tried my neighbourhood raddi wala but he did not have any. One of my friends suggested we try Mylapore as he had to make some purchases too. We reached Mylapore at around 12.30 in the afternoon and decided to go the famous pavement book shop run by Alwar who has Ramanan, a 73 year old as his assistant. We went to the old place but found out that it had been moved. We some how managed to get to the new location and i was stunned at the mound of books i saw on the pavement. I have read people calling the place a Mecca for bibliophiles and it is true. I was disappointed when i did not find the books i wanted but my friend hit pay dirt. We went to Ramanan's house to look for books for Buddism and one thing that struck me when i enterted his house was that his small house was stacked with books!! Books here, books there, books everywhere. To pacify myself i asked for Hitler's Mein kamph which Ramanan did not have, however he gave me a book of Winston Churchill's writings during World War 2 which was printed in 1950. Ask the man about any book and he will tell you if he has it or not.
Looking at the sad state of affairs in his house and at the roadside bookshop left me with a lump in my throat. Will the bibliophiles of Chenni city please stand up and put Alwar and Ramanan out of theie misery? A shop can be arrange that will protect the books from the elements of nature.  Check out links related to Alwar and Ramanan here and here . Their sad state of affairs was covered back in 2002. I still remember a line from one of the articles of Prince Frederick telling readers "Please help him. Write about his problem." That's not a single voice I hear."


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