Monday, March 07, 2005

Weekend in Bangalore

It was a fun weekend for me this time. I decided to find out all the bookstores in the vicinity of my office and check them out after my office ended on Friday (work finished early on friday and I got to leave the office at 7 pm).
The first thing I did was to get a list of bookstores from the net and get a printout of that. I looked at the list and marked the places that are nearby and they were...

  • Higginbothams - I liked this one as I have fond memories of Higginbothams of Madras

  • Gangaram's

  • Book Cellar

  • Premier - quite well known

  • Crossword

On friday night, I went walking all the way down MG road to the first three bookstores in the list above. I found Higginbotham's collection to be very disorganised and it also seemed to have a very limited collection. I looked around and when I got out of there, I realized that I had not stayed there for long. Next I went to Gangaram's. Now this is a quaint old bookstore with a really old lift, you know the ones we used to see being used in old Amitabh Bachchan movies. The general section was on the second floor and I took the opportunity to ride in the lift. You had to manually open and close the doors when they reached the destination. Seems incongruous in the modern world, doesnt it? But it did not in Bangalore. I will explain in another post. Anyway, the store turned out to be great; well, after the disappointment in Higginbothams, I suppose I was happy to be in a store that had kept the books in a organised manner. I liked the collection too and I ended up buying three books there - James Joyce's Dubliners and the portrait of the artist as a young man, and *Oh crap! I have forgotten the third one!*. I think it will come back to me. Let me think about it for a while. I really wanted to buy Joyce's Ulysses but it was not available in Gangaram's. I am actualy in the middle of many books now. One of them is Ulysses. I got the book from (an online library that delivers books anywhere in Bangalore (thanks, adi!)). I really found it to be a hard read as there were a lot of words that I did not know and a lot of european language words interspersed in between. Plus, the author puts in a lot of christian references that I have no idea about. There were some portions that I was able to understand and there were brilliant! I was also looking for a non-fiction book titled Gender, Politics, and Islam. Actually, I read a review in The Hindu and I thought the book sounded promising. But I was disappointed in this respect too as Gangaram's did not have this book either. Well, they said that I could order the book for Rs. 1150 (apparently, it is a foreign edtion). I refused saying that I want the Indian edition that I know cost around Rs 350.
Book Cellar was right next door to Gangaram's and I went in asking for the couple of books I did not get in Gangaram's. While I got Ulysses, I did not get the other book. That was when I decided that I had seen enough books for one day and as it was quite late, I decided to head for a bite and back to my room.
On Saturday, I visited a relative and I did not get a chance to visit the other book stores on the list. On sunday, I woke up a little late and washed my clothes (well, it costs Rs. 10 for a pair which I think is preposterous but I suppose I am influenced by the fact that I used to pay Rs. 75 to the dhobi in IITK for washing and ironing my clothes for a month!). After that, I sat down to continue reading Contact (another easylib book). I have developed a distaste for the standard sci-fi and Contact jarred me inspite of the physics in it! At around lunchtime , I decided to chuck the book and go see a movie and visit some other book stores. It turned out to be a great decision. Plus, it pays to stay close to MG road. I found out that Plaza was showing Ray at 12.30 pm and I had missed it :( But it was showing The fockers at 3.30 pm, which I could catch. Since I still had about 1.5 hours to kill, I decided to check out Premier bookstore on church street. I did not find/get to Premiers but I got to Blossom Bookstore, a store full of second hand books. As I entered the store, the shelves were full of romance novels or "woman's literature" (easylib seems to classify these books as woman's literature which I found to be offensive...)! I thought that I had come to wrong store but I decided not to be hasty and check out the entire store. As I walked past these shelves, I came to neatly labeled and categorised sections. There was a Crime/Mystery Section where all the authors were arranged alphabetically. Then there was Indian fiction and here for the first time in the store I was happy. I found Pather Panchali and it was priced Rs 100! It was then I began a systematic search of the shelves. Then there was Sci-fi and fantasy. Then, I came upon Classics and what a wonderful classics section too. Then there was humour and I came upon tons of Terry Pratchet. I ended up buying three books there - Pather Panchali, Feminism - From pressure to Politics and The hunchback of Notre-Dame.
Then I went to see The Fockers. After that, I went to Crossword, which is a big store with a lot of variety in books and music but expensive. I came out buying nothing.
So, If you are in Bangalore, check out Blossom Book store! A book lover would like the store.


Priya said...

thanks for that informative post :)
and you should also check out Strand bookstall- I think it's located at Prestige Meridian- at the intersection of MG road and another road whose name I've forgotten- anyway, should be easy enough to find. they have some good discount sales at times.

Anonymous said...

that was quite a nice read, good info on the bookstores, i went to check out blossoms, higginbothams and gangarams..and i found that gangarams is a more..exciting store as not only do they have tonnes n tonnes of books..which i just love, but they have so many other interesting little things, notebooks made from cloth, pens, handmade souvenirs from so many places in india and so much more. higganbothams made me sleepy, its a nice store, the staff are helpful but it was very dull. blossoms is ood for second hand stuff or old books.

Vinay C. Kalro said...

Thank you for your support . We have opened 2 two stores Gangarams church st no. 08025127888 (only Books) and Gangarams Indiranagar / domlur 08040383838 (BOOKS STATIONERY TROPHIES GIFTS MULTIMEDIA MOVIES TOYS.)

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