An Epilogue??

It’s a matter of sadness to read that my favourite bookshop in Bangalore – Premier Book Shop on Church Street now faces closure.

Excerpt from the article in The Hindu Business Line:

What made the Premier experience special to the 1970s’ generation? Without the pervasive presence of the TV, the video and the Internet, books were their major source of information and entertainment. Its three-deep stock, which expanded vertically from floor to ceiling, spans Amartya Sen, iconic Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, Helen Fielding, Bertrand Russell, Buckminster Fuller to Satyajit Ray, and every possible volume in between. Today, Shanbhag or his staff can extricate a desired book — whether philosophy, history or literature — without the whole collapsing on someone.

I have had a special relationship with Mr. Shanbhag, its owner. Anytime, I found that comics were getting old – especially, the DC comics and were lying about listlessly, I’d offer to buy them and with a shy smile at my Shylockian mentality, he’d offer them to me at an amazing discount. The same comics are now lying about, packed, and haven’t seen the light of day after the day they were bought/read. This is another matter altogether and I’m digressing.

I’ve been shopping here since the late 80’s. As time has gone on by, I’ve passed a couple of milestones in my life but, like having a tailor, hairdresser, doctor whom we never want to change from, Premier has been an integral part of my life as the bookplace to buy from. One of the reasons why people are extra sentimental about the place is because of Mr. Shanbhag’s helpfulness – even if a particular book were not available with him, he would go out of the way and get it for you.

I’ve often shared the delight of buying books at the amazing discounts that he offers with many a friend but have never ever revealed the place. Perhaps it was because I was smug in the belief that one had to discover the place and having done so, one would never want to disclose it. That and the fact that Mr. Shanbhag did not advertise – in these hep days of marketing & consumerism – was an abetting factor.

Today, I realise that I could perhaps afford to buy books that I want without the discount factor if only he’d be allowed to stay on.

The reason? I won’t be surprised to know if, what with the sky-rocketing real-estate prices, the real reason for having to vacate is another greedy landlord!!


More here about why Premier is special to many in Bangalore.

6 Comments so far

  1. Mehak (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 12:26 pm

    Never been to this bookshop (have been to Blossoms on Church St) but read about Premier Book Shop and Mr. Shanbhag in BT a few days back.
    Yes very true another greedy landlord can be one reason..

  2. SloganMurugan (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 5:14 pm

    Sad indeed! Just added a photo of a customer at Premier to the b’lore flickr page

  3. rubic_cube (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 12:48 am

    Never seen it, but I have seen such things happenning in Bombay… What can you do? One has to move with times!

  4. usha (unregistered) on April 8th, 2006 @ 8:00 am

    Yes, I will miss Premier bookshop too – Although I used to find it difficult to find my way through teh stacks of books all over the place – he always knew where to find a book if you asked him. In recent years it was becoming tough to go there because of parking difficulties around that area. I used to park near St.Joseph’s school and walk down to the shop.

  5. Krish (unregistered) on April 11th, 2006 @ 12:58 pm

    The reason? I won’t be surprised to know if, what with the sky-rocketing real-estate prices, the real reason for having to vacate is another greedy landlord!!

    The reason is that his long lease is finally coming to an end. The landlord doesn’t want to renew his lease now.

    Why the hell is wanting to make some money from your property “greedy”? Do you do your job without asking for a fair salary? If not, you are in the same boat.

  6. Pnaik (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 1:14 am

    Yes… I used to take bus number 32 from Basavangudi, get off at St. Marks/British Council and walk down to the bookshop on Church Street. Or walk down from the old Max Mueller Bhavan to get a glimpse of the latest books… those days Gangaram’s and Higginbotham’s were plain rude and unfriendly to browsers.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.