Blossoms, Bengaluru: A bookshop still in bloom

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#Blossom Book House, #Blossoms bookshop, #books, #bookshop, #Daryaganj, #Moore market. second-hand books, #Patri Kitab Bazar, #pirated bestsellers, #second hand books market, #street side bookstore

(Representational image) Patri Kitab Bazar in Daryaganj, Delhi, Moore market in Chennai and book stalls in the Flora Fountain area of Mumbai are just some of the second-hand books markets where we sourced old, old books and pirated bestsellers.  (Photo by Jan Mellström on StockSnap)

Where readers live, the streets are paved with books instead of bricks. Mountains of second-hand books wait for travellers from all corners of the country to come climb them. To stand among books spread on the ground or stacked on shelves, high on the heady smell of paper, poring over a title here, a cover there, is literary heaven.

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All you know about life, you picked up from beloved old dog-eared books gifted to you. The Moore market of Madras was legendary; once upon a time, all books magically came from there. As a student in Delhi, you stood among a sea of books in Daryaganj – the Patri Kitab Bazar sprang to life every Sunday like a dream town powered by paper. In Mumbai, it was the Flora Fountain area where you spied old, old books and pirated bestsellers. And in Bengaluru, it’s always been Blossom Book House.

Twentieth birthday and yet Blossoms, the legendary congregating spot for bookworms in this city only looks younger and younger. The store in Church Street multiplied, opening up space, stacking more books, showcasing by genre. It is the Narnia off a main artery road; you duck into this shop and are instantly transported into another world. A world where you fondly run into old-friend books, books you relished as a child, or are intoxicated by the proximity to stranger books that you know you can take home and get to know well.

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I have gone there alone, with friends, with kids and with tourists visiting Bengaluru for the first time. Where books are laid out on aisles and tables and sudden sharp nooks and ladders, where you can spend hours browsing and choosing. Like Clark Kent darting into a phone booth and changing into his Superman togs, one walks in with two free hands into Blossoms and leaves with books and the feverish excitement of getting to read them soon.

#Blossom Book House, #Blossoms bookshop, #books, #bookshop, #Daryaganj, #Moore market. second-hand books, #Patri Kitab Bazar, #pirated bestsellers, #second hand books market, #street side bookstore
Blossom Book House (Photo via Wikimedia Commons 4,0)

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‘A town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul,’ Neil Gaiman said and Blossoms heard him. Which is why two decades ago, they collected all the books they could and set up shop in the middle of the city.

Books. Breaking down galactic gobbledygook into bite-sized morsels of words and meanings, nuance and context. Everyone who has written anything and everyone who has read anything knows this is the café, the fine dining, the billion-course-meal and sweetest dessert for the soul.

Despite Kindle and Covid and kids who’d rather play games on their computers, brick and mortar bookshops are quietly thriving, slowly and steadily converting ordinary citizens into story addicts, building a subterranean cult of readers – the fellowship of fairy tales.

As Blossom steps into its 21st year and books rustle their pages to sing ‘happy birthday’, one thing is clear: Reading goes on, writing goes on. If a bookshop’s around for years and years, it is because books can never go out of business. Read what you want into that.

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