The golden era.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
So dashing! Author William Dalrymple looks like a MTV rock star at this long-ago book signing in The Book Shop.
The Delhi Walla is in possession of rare photographs that belong to the famous bookstore in Jor Bagh Market. Some photographs are also of The Book Shop’s other outlet that used to be in Khan Market and which today seems as mythical as the Old Delhi wall.
The most eye-popping picture in this small bundle is that of KD Singh. By the time he died in 2014, the bookstore’s founder had become a legend. His white beard, tweed jackets and balmy-voiced chatter represented all that was genteel about Delhi. Here, however, we see a much younger KD Singh – his beard is black and he is in a jazzy shirt. The old times feel like a distant planet.
Today the bookstore is co-run by Mr Singh’s wife Nini and her partner, Sonal Narain. They are assisted by Juhi Jha, a young woman who designed thebookshopjorbagh.wordpress.com, the store’s very own blog. Launched this year on Mr Singh’s birthday, it has a section devoted to him alone.
Mr Singh’s absence looms large in The Book Shop. The place is not the same without him. And yet the regulars stay loyal. This is because the folks who run The Book Shop continue to represent all that is genteel about Delhi.
1. (William Dalrymple at The Book Shop)
2. (KD Singh’s portrait)
3. (The Book Shop, Khan Market)
4. (Mr Singh with author Charles Allen)
4a. (Mr Singh with author Arundhati Roy)
5. (Mr Singh with wife, Nini)
6. (Mr Singh’s photograph with wife, Nini, at The Book Shop, Jor Bagh)
11. (Sonal Narain)
12. (Juhi Jha)
13. (Nini Singh)
13a. (KD Singh, author-designer Marina Bang, Nini Singh, William Dalrymple)
14. (KD Singh at The Book Shop, Khan Market)