Rest in peace Suresh Shah, founder of Sapna Book House, who passed away due to Covid. Started life as a railway coolie & headed Bombay Coolie Association. Started Sapna in Majestic. Published Kannada writers. Remarkable life.
Sapna wasn't a fancy bookstore, no frills but plain vanilla. Something for everyone: exam prep, dictionaries, comics. Lots of books for rural libraries were sourced from there. I found a beautiful new translation of Anna Karenina at the Residency Road store.
Sapna, Nagasri, Premier, Gangarams, Select. They weren't posh bookshops with iced coffee and armchairs, but they sold books and more books, and they kept the city's book culture alive.
And to that beloved list we can add Blossom, Bookworm, Goobe, Atta Galatta and Champaka. Part of the thing about going to Blossom was to browse through the event posters on the wall. That wall was a different face of Bangalore.
I just noticed I've used the past tense for Blossom. Visiting bookstores, coffeeshops, browsing - the pandemic has made an entire way of life feel like the past. Waiting for the day when it's behind us.
And did I mention about Sapna: how a Gujarati man from Mumbai’s Ghatkopar set up a bookstore in Bangalore, grew it into a chain and also a publishing house, offering Kannada classics by Shivarama Karanth, Nisar Ahmed and Chandrashekhara Kambara at less than Rs 100. #readon

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