City Hangout – The Bookshop Ghosts of PVR Anupam, Saket
The saving grace of bookstores.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
There were days, not long ago, when the PVR cinema and plaza in Saket seethed with energy. The capital’s smart set would inevitably beeline to this south Delhi multiplex featuring Hollywood’s latest.
The lustre has worn out.
Multiplexes now dot Delhi. A nearby mall offers more creature-comfort distractions. But here, at the old Anupam, broken benches and child beggars bear their own message.
Even so. The plaza has managed to hold on to three second-hand bookstores, where The Delhi Walla recently chanced upon first editions of well-known works — from Salman Rushdie to Vikram Seth. I didn’t hesitate in snapping up a hardbound copy of Gabriel García Márquez’s News of a Kidnapping.
These bookstores lining the right side of the cinema complex have been around ever since the refubished plaza opened in 1997. The shops feature stacks brimming with English literature classics in handsome paperbacks, along with the easy novels (Mills & Boon included) taking up lots of space.
After filling a bag with books, you might want to park yourself on the bench just in front of the stalls, where the world moves along. I spot a couple so obviously enamoured with each other, and a group of friends heading to the movies.
These fleeting glimpses serve as reminders that the plaza’s old vibrant life does spark up now and then.
The blessing of bookstalls