Demise of the book street

Once upon a time, the pavements on the road from Flora Fountain to Churchgate station were lined up with a number of booksellers, treasuring thousands of books. The courts ordered their eviction some four months back, a thing I plainly dismissed as ‘unpractical’ and ‘unjust’. They couldn’t be doing this to Mumbai, and it would be a matter of days until they came back, I felt. My visit to that place last week told me how wrong I was.

I graduated reading Mass Transfer Operations by Treybal and Reaction Engineering by Levenspiel, and almost all of my Engineering knowledge came from books purchased from this street. I would get my supply of Robert Ludlums and Jeffrey Archers for the holidays, or simply spend time browsing through the books (and glance at the Playboys!) on my ocassional visits to teh uptown.

This street was the unofficial ‘book street’ of Mumbai, something everyone was proud of. ‘Yeh book kahan milega?‘, ‘Fountain’, came the default reply. Stocked with books ranging from almost all subjects known to mankind, these booksellers, most of them barely literate, were smart archivers.

Alas, this book street has been ripped out mercilessly from the heart of the metropolis.

Related reading: Dance bars, yes. Books, no!, What did the books do to you?

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