Advertisement
Sunday, Oct 24, 2021
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Anil Arora, Mr. Bookworm, R.I.P.

Anil Arora, Mr. Bookworm, R.I.P.
| Courtesy: IndiaMike
Anil Arora, Mr. Bookworm, R.I.P.
outlookindia.com
2016-08-09T16:18:36+05:30

Just read an obit notice. Anil Arora, the man who owned and ran The Bookworm is no more. All things and people that pass take some parts of us away with them: Anil belonged to that part of my time which I spent most joyfully in his delightful bookshop in Connaught Place. I would get off from a bus or an auto, depending upon how broke or flush I was, and head straight into The Bookworm, all set for the familiar heady smell of new books, finger those that I couldn't afford, dip into stuff and earmark for future purchase.

Anil would always be there, behind his desk, playing his beloved jazz -- these were days before I-pod constructed loops, you had select and choose and play the stuff you wanted to hear.

Over the years, he became a dear book friend. He knew what I liked, and he would keep aside books for me, especially the kind of crime fiction I enjoyed most, as well books on cinema, both the genres I still read with a passion.

Anil would always wrinkle his nose at some of my really hardcore crime/science fiction choices, and ask: how can you read that rubbish? And I would grin back at him and order a few more, which he would ask his overseas suppliers to deliver because he wouldn't usually stock that 'rubbish', but was happy to get for you because, you know, Books. All this was way before your Internet-Amazon-Flipkart delivery days, needless to say, as they say. With Anil on your side, you didn't need any other book provider.

You could browse all day, sitting on the tiny stools, and shoot the breeze with him, or you could whizz in to pick up a couple of lovely Penguin classics and race off to a matinee at near-by Plaza, and promise to play him later. It was perfectly all right, because he knew I would be back: where could I go, and not be back?

Connaught Place is no longer the place it used to be. The Bookworm shut down, as I feared it would, because Anil would talk about how the construction of the metro and all the rubble in front had taken away wandering footfalls, and even his most loyal customers had moved to buying stuff online.

I buy stuff online too, but reluctantly, and I can never not frequent bookshops. It is where everything starts.

Play some Coltrane up there, Anil, for all of us bookworms. We will always remember you.

(Extracted with permission from Shubhra Gupta's Facebook post)

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

'Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani': Shah Rukh Khan As The Symbol Of Indianness

'Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani': Shah Rukh Khan As The Symbol Of Indianness

SRK’s persona evokes the kind of Indianness that denies categorisation into singular, exclusive identities. And thrives on making others feel welcome.

Army Jawan, Two Cops Wounded In Heavy Exchange Of Fire In Valley

Army Jawan, Two Cops Wounded In Heavy Exchange Of Fire In Valley

Police detenue to identify hideouts in Poonch fail to extract arrested Pak militant used as guide, after coming under heavy fire from militants

T20 World Cup: India Have Edge Over Pakistan - Stats Preview

T20 World Cup: India Have Edge Over Pakistan - Stats Preview

So far India have won all their five matches against Pakistan in T20 World Cups since 2007 - all of them under the leadership of Dhoni.

Global Desi: Raj Or Rahul, SRK Is Equally At Home In New York Or Patiala

Global Desi: Raj Or Rahul, SRK Is Equally At Home In New York Or Patiala

Marking the transition between old and new India, SRK’s characters and his stardom represent Bollywood as simultaneously Indian and global.

Advertisement