Surviving, for now.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This bookshop is a great spot for another Starbucks. (Connaught Place has just two Bucks so far.)
The display counter will take over the left-side book shelves. The Classics corner will become a table for two. The poetry section will be a sideboard.
The place will feel less bookish. There will be real life scenes of lovers, loners, and backpackers, with occasional sightings of book lovers.
The coffee crowd will have no idea that this place used to be Amrit Book Company.
The store was founded in 1936 by a former railway clerk named Amrit Dhar. Today, his son Prem Sharma sits at the cashier’s desk. Prem Sharma’s two sons, Puneet and Sumit, handle the customers. While Raju Pandey from Chhapra, Bihar, has been working in the shop since 1992.
All these men are living on borrowed time. Their regular customers are shifting loyalty to discount-friendly online stores. Their landlord is itching for fatter cats (there are many). In a word, Amrit Book Company will sooner or later succumb to the trend – Connaught Place’s original landmarks giving way to big-chain outlets.
Some may miss the bookstore. But old habits die easy. And the Starbucks cappuccino (less froth please) is worth the poetry section we will lose.
Where N 21, Outer Circle, Connaught Place Time 11 am to 8 pm Nearest Metro Station Barakhamba
Nice knowing you