Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blossom Book Shop, Bangalore

The Blossom Book House, on Church Street in Bangalore, is my kind of a bookstore. Aisle upon narrow aisle, shelf upon shelf stacked with books, not an inch of space devoted to cute displays, but books, old, new, the really old, shiny books, dusty books, books you have never heard of, books you will never read, books you never imagined you would see in any bookstore, least of all in a used-bookstore in Bangalore - The Starr Report for instance. See this Wikipedia article in case you don't know.

If you want children's books, a cozy corner between two floors serves as the perfect hideout for kids to sit and spend time poring over books. It can get somewhat stuff in that corner however, because there is no ventilation or a fan there, but if you are a kid these are minor quibbles you won't even notice.

At a place like this, what I desire and crave but have not got yet, is to spend an hour, at least, in each aisle, and a full day at the store. While the bookshop employees do their bit to keep books somewhat organized, it is all but an impossible job to do, given that this store has more than a hundred thousand books crammed into every nook, cranny, corner, from floor to ceiling. You are likely to find books in the oddest of places in the store, so it takes time to go over each shelf to make sure you have given it a good dekko.

And lastly, do you recognize what this is below? It is a Mandrake comic, published under the "Indrajal" Series by the Times of India, and were the rage in the 1970s and 1980s. These used to sell for a couple of rupees, and the most popular characters were Phantom, Mandrake, to a lesser extent Flash Gordon, and the Indian hero Bahadur. The series stopped production in 1990, and no reprints seem to have come out either. Twenty years is enough to kindle nostalgia, and these comics have become all the rage and are much sought after. So much so that those in good condition can fetch a hundred rupees or more. This one, below, has a list price of Rs 3 printed on its cover, is more than twenty years old, was in a protective plastic cover and selling for a hundred rupees.
And to think I had a few hundred of these at one point.

© 2013, Abhinav Agarwal (अभिनव अग्रवाल). All rights reserved.