April 23, 2016 by aliya
Sunday Book Market , Darya Ganj : A pochette of books
Shop : Sunday Book Market, Darya Ganj
I had not been there in the last five years. Perhaps, the sellers have stopped keeping the books on the pavements or the whole character of the flea has changed. I remember going to the Sunday Book Market of Darya Ganj with my brother whenever I used to go to my Khala’s place on weekends. My brother would scout for Graphic Novels and I’d look for stories that could satiate the little detective in me.
The book flea happens every Sunday on the pavements of Darya Ganj, and offers a spread of old fashion magazines, academic books, comics and novels with some toys, stationary, kitchen ware and clothes.
Last Sunday, my friend Vidhi and I decided to go to the Sunday Book Market. She had never been there, and I had wanted to revisit for a very long time. We made our way to the good old flea after an hour long commute in the metro and a five minute DTC bus trip from the Kashmere Gate Metro Station.
Nothing has changed over five years. The place is chaotic like it was before, and reeks of the same madness like it used to; nevertheless a book lover’s paradise. There is hardly any room to walk but scores of people make their way. Considering the crowd, the place is a pickpocket’s paradise too, so one has to take care of their belongings as well as themselves. Vidhi and I already have an itinerary planned; buy cheap books in the flea and eat chhola kulcha and aloo chat.
The Sunday Book Market, as it is dearly called, had lines of book sellers selling engineering, and medical books with enthusiasm Vidhi and I couldn’t fathom. We even saw some students trying to sell their course books which were not useful to them after the end of the academic year at school. We quickly made our way through the boring pavements. Vidhi and I had already decided not to only buy good books but also look for good deals so that we could also justify the whole trip made on a scorching Sunday.
There were books being sold at price per kilos and 10-30 INR. It was quite a task to find the books we like. Of course, there were a number of Chetan Bhagat and the likes, cheesy romantic novels and books that must have been once at the epoch of popular American culture easily available. But that is not what we were looking for. After making our way through a dozen of sellers, we found some books that seemed interesting; Urdu novels for me and History books for Vidhi, and other books we judged by their covers.
The pavements house some of the best books if only you have the patience to look and the will to walk on the narrow footpath. The trip was a routine break from regular trips to cafes and restaurants we make every weekend. And of course, nothing beats buying books from scores of roadside sellers who not only sell books but a bit of nostalgia and culture too.
Photos : Vidhi Bhardwaj and Aliya