Balapet’s Second-Hand Bookstalls

Via Sights, sounds and smells from Bangalore

Turn into the small streets of Balepet area near Majestic and you would be introduced to a new kind of pace. No, it’s not slower, just different. And on Sundays, things change again. It’s business unusual when Balepet turns into a venue for a grand book fair. The air carries the heady, musty smell of pages of old books and conversation about collectibles. Book lovers descend to make the most of the endless stacks and rows of books and magazines that hit the pavements, shelves, stools, makeshift racks around giant pipal trees, a temple and a police station.

Each season has a different flavour, the vendors say. “In summer, we sell more comics, children’s books. When it’s time for colleges to reopen, there is a demand for textbooks,” says Narasimhamurthy Shivnanjaiah who’s followed his uncle L Hanumanthaiah into the business. The uncle had a good 40 years of experience; by that estimate, the tradition of book selling on that pavement near Upparpet police station is at least over 50 years old, he says.

“We get magazines about 1-2 months after their shelf life ends. Price depends on the buyer,” he says. So if you drive a hard bargain, you could have yourself copious reading material for little money. And dealing with the pleasant-mannered Mustafa would have you returning not just for his wares but also a fix of nostalgia that editions of Tinkle comics and such provide.

A magazine that cost about Rs75 when brand new could be acquired for as little as Rs20-25. Readers’ Digests, National Geographic Magazines, curious titles from all over the world on diverse subjects are all up for grabs. Mustafa stocks Urdu, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu books too. So, arrive early, bring along patience, a giant cloth bag to bring back your finds.

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Image Source : pacomexico


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