Though technology in the form of ebooks, audiobooks is trying to replace the brick and mortar book stores, I am still an old school person when it comes to books. I love to hold a book when I read it. The touch and feel and the smell as you turn the pages are things that I still care for. Though I have a kindle, have tried audiobooks as well, a physical book is a joy that I am not prepared to forego, no matter what. And it cannot be denied that reading a physical book means cutting down on my screen time.
So if books are important, then the stores which sell them are equally important. I simply love the idea of a stand-alone book store with lots and lots of books, coffee and some greens which I can gaze at… when I look up. Sheer bliss. One can spend hours there! Isn’t it?
And can I share something? Pssst.. it is my dream to have one of my own!!
My city, the city of Delhi NCR [actually Delhi and Gurgaon], has several excellent book stores. The idea here is to list the ones I love and share what I like about each one of them.
This will be a series in which I will begin with the ones I regularly visit and then go on to include other ones, which I hope to discover along the way.
So happy book storing!!! And happy reading!!
1. Bahrisons – A bookstore that I got to know about as a child, thanks to my dad.. a bookaholic [ some of my genes come from there for sure!!
Those lazy Sunday afternoons when we would take off in our Morris Oxford and go to Khan market. We would enter the store and then just lose ourselves. My mom had to fix a budget in terms of the time and money we spent there because obviously, she didn’t trust us with either.
Some fond memories there!!
As I moved on in life and started moving toward the outskirts of Delhi to land in Gurgaon finally, it became difficult to go to Khan market. But then, in 2017, the owners decided to open a branch in my very own Gurgaon. And ever since that day visiting the store is a weekly ritual for me.
The store is a treasure trove of books. You can choose from various genres, authors, classics, fiction, non-fiction.. whatever you want. You walk in and are greeted by the display of the new and best sellers right in front of you!! And the best part, the staff is super knowledgeable, super courteous and super helpful. From discussing books to helping you get the book you are looking for, they do it all. And if the book is not available, they will source it for you!
And then.. they help you to preserve your old books by providing you with the facility of getting them leather-bound. A wonderful idea! So many of my dad’s books can now live on forever…
What’s more, the store has a café too! So between losing yourself in the aisles and sitting down with your coffee in a quiet corner, you can take your pick!! Though I wish the coffee area had more space!!
During the lockdown, if I haven’t been able to go to them, they have come to me! Home delivery at its most efficient best!!
2. Chapter 101
I would call this a boutique bookstore, a booklover’s paradise. A store that resembles an old English study with bookshelves lined with books picked up with a lot of love and care. It is a quiet space for the serious reader with no hustle and bustle around. You don’t have people walking in and out of the store, so no noise. Only peace and solitude, as though you have entered a private space, and there is no chance of any intrusion. The ambience is such that you actually tiptoe your way around. Each book is like a jewel to be handled with care.
You walk in and step into another world, another era. There is soft jazz playing in the background. Pick up a book, pour a cup of coffee for yourself and sit in a corner and read to your heart’s content. The experience is almost surreal.
The store boasts of rare collections, first-edition copies and all the classics, a beautifully curated collection from all over the world. You can spot masterpieces like those by PG Woodhouse, the Bronte sisters, Somerset Maugham, Hemingway, to name just a few.
I haven’t ever visited such a bookstore. The experience doesn’t end at books. You want bookends, bookmarks… they are right there.
It’s a store that exudes passion, spells class. It is like a booklover’s dream come true. I am sure it is Raju Singh, the owner’s dream come true. Established in 2016, no book lover who lives in Gurgaon, in particular, has any reason to miss this little piece of heaven.