I remember the last summer when I was reading the books on Federico Fellini and his style of film making. The very subject fascinated me as his films inspired many film makers from all over the world. As a film student I did find a cord between French Avant Grade Cinema, German Expressionism and Italian Cinema. I admire Federico Fellini for his habit of observing reality and then to weave it for screen. He had a peculiar habit of writing in a diary and then implements it in to film. I got to know that there is a book published on his diary (Fellini’s Diary of Dreams) which inspired his style of ‘Stream of Consciousness’ which has lured many film scholars from then up till now. I started searching for a book but in vain and at the same evening a close friend of mine took me Pune Shivaji Nagar Engineering College for ‘Strand Book Stall’ exhibition. It was my first visit to Strand Book Stall sale. I was taking a glance over books and to my surprise I found ‘Fellini’s Diary of Dreams’. I jumped on the book and told my friend what a co-incident that the book which I was searching today morning on net and at various book stores, I found it in a surprising way at Strand’s Book Store. I received a handsome discount. I was more than happy and I purchased many classics over the period of week from that exhibition.
Strand Book Stall made me rich by the experience. My dear friend Dr Paul told me it is a 60 year old book stall when is started in the premise of Strand Cinema Mumbai. Mr. T.N.Shanbhag has started it out of his love towards books. All newspaper editors from India love Strands Books from heart. R. K.Laxman use to be the frequent admirer of Strands Book Stall. All intelligentsia of Mumbai knows Strands Book Stall for it collection and fantastic discount of above 20%.
Many parents who were students once remember the Strands for the kind of discount they have enjoyed when they had small pocket money. Every book lover from India owes some memories to Strands Book Stall.
Internet and communication revolutions made no difference to Strands Book Stall but today after the very unfortunate demise of T.N.Shanbag in 2009 there are rumors that it might close in April or May this year.
I found the news in Asian Age Saturday 8.2.1014 and decided to pen down an article on it. I remember the lines by Oscar Wilde “The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”
Today when everyone is busy with tablet exposure and touch screen reality, I prefer a book when never damage my eye site and available to any time anywhere without a condition. I respect it more than my companion. I remember the lines of Umberto Eco – “A book is a fragile creature, it suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements and clumsy hands. So the librarian protects the books not only against mankind but also against nature and devotes his life to this war with the forces of oblivion.”
Strand Book Stall is a treasure for India and it should be preserved. In the days of fast change we are losing everything which has shaped mankind. It is time to realize the value of book and book store.
I sum up my article with a line by Cicero – “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”