Ubiquitous Rows of Books

The 200 yr. Old book market of Kolkata is a quintessential part for the citizens of Kolkata. Having witnessed many generations of buyers and sellers, College Street is always brimming with action. Name a book and you can be sure of finding it here. I remember spending many afternoons looking for editions at the shops that stock books of all kinds.

Students of all age groups are familiar with the ‘boi para’ or the book market. From the popular Harry Potter series to the medical journals, the market boasts about having it all.

Charles Dickens to Baba Ramdev, there is not a title that cannot be found in the humble shacks of College Street. Adding to the facts, the market not only provides learners with a supply of books, but also serves as the place to sell books for other students to make use of the same. A brilliant arrangement to optimize utility of the books, College Street has thousands of sellers!

I remember visiting the huge shop of Barua Chowdhury every year along with my dad to buy my school books, brown paper and stickers.

A little less crowded are the pavements that lead to the main market.

I found there, a man neatly arranging rows of books on a mattress. He primarily had books for children on offer. The first row had varieties of colouring books, next to it were the best-selling comic books and the last row had educational books for the toddlers.

Atul had been selling books at the same spot as his father’s since 3 yrs. Now and had gained a liking for his profession. At the age of 18, he had begun taking care of the work that was passed over to him by his father. Atul’s father had taught him to be organized, punctual and friendly. Missing the key hours would mean, losing a substantial amount of business.

Beside him, was a bag that contained his tiffin and a couple of notepads and books. He went on to tell me that he is also preparing for the competitive exams and hopes to excel at the same.

After wrapping up work for the day, Atul would join his friends for a revision of the lessons.

The months of April and May usually were busier for Atul, when children along with their parents would come to sell old books and purchase new ones. They would also visit Atul to buy books for recreation.

Balancing his studies along with the demanding job of selling books everyday under the blazing sun, Atul’s story inspires me make optimum use of time!

Do plan a visit to College Street and take home books to gift the little ones in your family!

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