Hey. Manney’s is closing.

March 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

The other day I got an email from a friend updating me about her life. (I ask them to do that at regular and random intervals. It’s difficult to know the daily things so far away…! damn. so difficult!) And amongst other things she suddenly told me… ‘Manneys’ closing.’

That set my brain right into flashback mode a la film style. All black N white and with crumpled edges and yellowed film. Heh. Okay not thaaat old memories… but nevertheless. I suddenly remembered how I came across this old bookstore in Camp in Pune. I was meaning to go there since ages. One of my friends who’s as book crazy as me had told me it’s a wonderful, wonderful place. And when you go there, he told me, go to the fiction side and look for the Tolkien section and it ‘ll be on the highest shelf. Tell me if there’s a paper cup there still. I want to know if it’s still like that since I saw it last month. Someone  had stashed it there! he tells me. Lol. That’s my first memory of Manney’s. Looking for Tolkien and a paper cup! Oh and I found Tolkien and a whole lot of other treasures at Manney’s! (Not the paper cup though. If I’d had found it it would’ve been extremely amusing to both of us.)

What struck you at Manney’s when you first entered was firstly- the table they had laid out right in front of the door. Secondly, when you went inside… the absolute piles and stacks of books neatly arranged/haphazardly piled/strewn and attempted to be put in order. It was astonishingly wonderful! I mean… going down the rabbit hole and plonking yourself nicely and sweetly  books. I have once found a pile on the floor there which had children’s night-time stories, Anna Karenina, hobby books and science fiction on top of each other.            H-A-P-H-A-Z-A-R-D to the core.

Oh and they never really seemed to have the particular books you wanted. And they promised you they’d get it for you and never did. There are two ways to go to a bookstore… one is looking for something in particular. The other is strolling and browsing and discovering them. With Manney’s it was always the latter with me. Especially the strange zero-ventilated corner in the classic literary section. I always got a crick in my neck trying to read horizontal stacks of books. It had some really old editions of some really old books. Simply coz they were stacked at the back-end of the shelf. It was a pain to get out some of them. It was amazing.

Now that it’s closing I found out about it some more and now I know that it started in 1948. Ooooh. Long time. Too bad it’s closing. It’s a part of my conversation now with people who introduced me to it and people I introduced to it. All my friends are getting stamped copies of books from there. Damn I miss that part. I have loads of books from there but none STAMPED! Drat.

There are some places that are always special in your heart. They might not be the best places… or the most interesting places but you have fond memories of it anyway. Manney’s is definitely one of those. So here’s to Manney’s. You will be remembered fondly my darling bookstore!

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