When I was a kid, my favorite place on earth was a bookshop in 4th block called The Prism. I lived, as I do now, in Jayanagar 9th block, which is minimum-fare away from 4th block.. but when I was in primary school, that was a formidable distance to cover..it meant that I would have to ask my mom/dad to take me there..with the result that visits to the prism were rare, delightful treats, that would keep me happy the entire day, first in anticipation, and then in the exquisite joy of cuddling up in bed with a brand new book and a plateful of something to munch on ( mangoes, if it happened to be summer)
When I passed the bookshop on the way to somewhere else, in an auto, I’d crane my neck out and catch a sight of those swinging doors, and enticing racks of books beyond. It was a veritable temple to me.
Of course the feeling didnt last..As i grew older, I discovered bigger and better bookstores, and also the ubiquitous platform bookstalls..and yet, prism was something else..it was my first gateway into the world of books.
How differently a visit to Prism now makes me feel! I’d been there yesterday for a leisurely browse..which was just as well, because if I had been looking for a particular book, I do not think I would have found it. The classics, indian authors, children’s books and a lot of other literary flotsam were sadly mixed up in one rack that went nameless. Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters were prominent by their absence, and Dickens was strewed around here and there.
And that was it in the fiction department, save one rack with the Dan Browns and the Jeffrey Archers, and one copy of JRR Tolkein and Harry Potter that every bookshop stocks, no matter what its size and pretensions.
As I walked out through the doors after half an hour of desultory walks up and down the racks, I was a little annoyed and more than a little sad.. sucks when the object of your nostalgia is no longer worthy of the emotion.