When people ask me what my hobby is, I almost always tend to reply that it is reading books; not just fiction or the course work but also non-fiction. What I don’t mention is that I also like buying books. Well, that can be an unusual hobby-buying books. But yes, its an old hobby of mine. I normally buy books meaning to read them, but due to lack of time, effort and energy most of them are still lying unread. Someday I will read them all, I promise myself. In this pursuit of buying books I always scan any new places for bookstores and over the years I have been to numerous places and have visited some amazing stores. In the recent days, Flipkart.com and the Tata Book House at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras have been my favourite for the amazing discounts that they offer.
Recently I went to Guwahati and had some money with me, so I decided to spend some of it on books. I scoured the area for a good place to buy some and went to many stores, but most of them seemed cluttered with books without any meaning. I timidly went into “Papyrus”, a tiny book store in Panbazar which I had visited only once about 4 years back. At that time,it stuffed only Penguin books and so had a lesser variety. This time however I wasn’t disappointed as I could see books from many publishers both Indian and of foreign publishers. All the books were however in English and as such it is not a good place to shop if you plan to buy any regional language books. The shop is a tiny one with a staff of two members but they have an amazing collection of books. This is mostly due to the fact that they maintain only a single copy of most of the books in their shop which is good to increase their collection. I took a close and long look at almost all the books on display and found to my delight and surprise that they have a wide range of books on varied topics and sub topics. I found books on Literature, Music, Art, Drama, Dictionaries, Science, Mathematics, and what not.
I had planned to buy just one book, but I couldn’t resist such an enticing collection. I have a thrist for all books scientific and imagine my delight when I saw some books by Roger Penrose and Watson of DNA fame. I wanted to buy everything that the shop had to offer but unfortunately I neither had that much money nor did I have that much strengtth to carry everything. Still, I did do a sizeable amount of shopping and I am still wondering how I had missed that stall for such a long time. My Govt of India scholarship was completely spent on the books that I got and I walked away with three bags full of books. And let me add here, the bags provided by Papyrus are both very good looking and eco friendly. That’s one more feather in their cap. Add to it the behaviour of the owner and you get a good combo of everything. Really for all the book freaks out there, Papyrus is sure to give you a delight. You have the option of paying via your Credit Card or Debit Card. They even accepted my SBI Smart Card so you needn’t carry too much cash and can go on a shopping spree.
One incident that I won’t forget which happened that day was I bought a book for which I paid Rs, 1104 for. The owner than calls me after 15 minutes to say that he has overcharged me and that I will get a rebate of Rs. 305. This honesty will always be admired and I hope many people will go and buy books from him. A friend of mine studying English literature at Shillong commented how she liked the way that guy smelled. Now, next time I visit the shop I will be sure to give a sniff or two.
I plan to visit the store the next time I am in Guwahati and I hope I can spend some more money on good books.
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