One of Bombay’s iconic bookstores, the Strand Book Stall, will down its shutters to never open them again to book lovers on 28 February. Financial losses reportedly forced them into shutting shop.
The Strand Book Stall began as a two-table stall in Colaba, 70 years ago, outside the Strand Cinema. Over the years, it expanded and moved to PM Road in 1956, but it retained the name.
The place had a special appeal to it – the books - a mix of bestsellers and rare titles were always available at discounted rates. Customers were drawn to the diverse book collection, carefully curated by its late owner, Padmashree TN Shanbhag.
Author Khushwant Singh had once termed the Strand as the only “personal bookshop” in India.
We took a stroll down memory lane and walked into the Strand Book Stall with an aching heart. With most of the books are swiftly flying off the shelves after the news and with no space to step into the store considering the patrons thronging the store for one last time, the iconic store seems to be getting a farewell it deserves.
After his death in 2009, his daughter Vidya Virkar and son Arun took over the reins of the book stall.
"“Around the world, bookstores are shutting down because people prefer to buy books online. The business has been ailing for a while, and we tried what we could to keep it going, but the cultural landscape has changed. There’s not much we can do about that, and so we decided that it’s time to let go,” " - Vidya told The Indian Express on 22 February.
The demise of the book stall has bibliophiles all over the city mourning.
A small piece of Bombay 'The Strand Book Stall' is shutting down after 70 years of operations.— Atul Khatri (@one_by_two) February 22, 2018
I propose Mukeshbhai should buy it, keep it running & we will all forgive him for what he did to Bombay with his Antilia :-)
Sad to hear about the closing down of #StrandBookStall. My generation had two places to buy books- Either the footpath on flora fountain or Strand Book Stall. Browsing for hours in the tiny shop. The fairness of Mr Shanbhag in pricing and the special deals on some great books.— R. Balakrishnan (@BalakrishnanR) February 20, 2018
In Memory of Bombay's Strand Book Stall That is To Soon Die pic.twitter.com/MPO2xWnwlt— mayank austen soofi (@thedelhiwalla) February 21, 2018
First samovar, then rhythm house and now this ?— Nikita Dutta (@nikifyinglife) February 22, 2018
I still remember that lovely book smell on entering strand book stall! Such good old treasures of the city. Why are we losing them. :( pic.twitter.com/h11GIOY1uK
There’s nothing like the serendipity of a crowded book shop.— barkha deva (@barkhad) February 22, 2018
This one even saw Jawaharlal Nehru being spirited in one night after lock-up so he could browse in peace.
Do read. And pop across & buy yourself something before the shutters come down. https://t.co/2oyDA3Kdfs
It's sad to see the Strand Book Stall shutting down next week! A piece of what made up the 'Bombay' legacy dies with it.— Prasham Parikh (@PPrashP) February 22, 2018
First Rhythm House, and now Strand book stall.— Kunal Rao (@kunalrao) February 22, 2018
There is a generation of analog Bombayites who will soon disappear into oblivion
#StrandBookStall - so many memories amongst books, meeting place making friends !!— M&C (@mridula2c) February 21, 2018
TN Shanbagh helped select communication, media books -while I was setting up the #XICLibrary. One more death in the city. pic.twitter.com/4SpeAUHVi9
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