My Bookshop, The Reader, was an inspiration

The Reader – Or was it “such stuff as dreams are made on”?

It was a chilly Gurgaon winter morning of the grey yellow variety when moist air clings to the smog and chokes out the sunlight. It was the type of morning that you squint at with one eye and dive back into the snugness of your quilt. It was the sort of morning people call in sick: little toe of the right foot arthritic; feel dizzy when I sit up; cramps in my right hand; cramps in my left thigh … It was on this December morning that I sat bolt upright in bed and announced I was going to open a bookstore.

Incredulous looks from everyone.
“Just like that?” “Just like that!” Premises? Revenue model? Marketing strategy? Everything was ordained to fall into place. No thought required: The Reader it was going to be. And The Reader would be up and running within three months.
opening a bookstoreQuite by accident, a couple of years earlier, I had found this magic-faraway-tree kind of bookstore at Central Arcade, where a tiny lady sat behind a tiny desk. She had a captivating charm that was surpassed only by her knowledge of books: she could talk about any book under the sun. Well, almost. Of course, she knew every book she had on her shelves and rare was the walk-in who left without a bagful of books. Her eyes shone and twinkled whenever we talked about her favourite authors and, as we became friends, I picked up a rudimentary understanding of how the book trade worked.
My inspiration came from Moni and The Word.
When I asked Moni for help in setting up The Reader … all she asked me was “Are you sure you want to do this?” I found a small store at Galleria, which had a flagstone floor: more than anything else, I fell in love with the floor! In less than forty-eight hours, I had the lease drawn up and signed. We set to work with a deadline of two-and-a-bit months and, to set things rolling, I had invitations to the opening of The Reader printed and distributed. Lines had been drawn. Then the frenzy set in. Two months can be a very short time, specially when the “and-a-bit” comfort zone has been spent on arguing about interiors and furniture and haggling about prices with fabricators.
At some point of time thereabouts, good counsel prevailed and I left the decision making to Moni, while I focussed on the execution!

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