02 March 2012

A little shop on the hills

Maria Brothers, Shimla

In the olden days all houses had little store rooms tucked away in their corners and the Grannies usually kept them locked out of reach of children. As a child you were scared and at the same time curious to find out the hidden treasures in them. Its sad that the houses nowadays can not afford even enough living space hence, store rooms would be too much to ask for  - what with hoarding becoming a luxury too.

But just like store rooms in your houses there are these little corners tucked away in city where you find treasures whenever you go back. This is what I realised on my recent visit to Shimla with my parents. As I wandered around the mall - I felt I was sifting through some of the old stuff in the storeroom and actually found two special places which reminded me of the glorious past.

One was the 'Gaiety Theatre' which I will talk more in my next blog, and the other was Maria Brothers which is an Antique book stores. I was in Shimla for merely 24 hours but I spent my evening there and rushed there in the morning too  even before it opened to just touch and feel the smell of those old books.

It was dusty and messy with piles and piles of books lying everywhere but probably this is what which added more character to this place. It actually looked and felt like you have discovered an old room with books covered under dust. You slowly start picking them, wiping the dust slowly, and opening their covers to hear the sound of crinkling pages and smell their rusty odour. Its like these books have seen many seasons and are holding in them the lost secrets and clues to the old treasures and past. Some markings here and there showing someone read this book and took it seriously enough to make notes and comments... some Rose tucked in the pages showing it enclosed some one's love and dreams... a missing page which just made the story and the past of the book even more interesting.. when you touch the stains of tea or water on them a sudden visual or a memory appears  in front of your eyes...

I think my love for books is at its peak in such places which store and secure the books for ages - till someone comes and takes them away for collection or pure pleasure.. My brother in law is fond of collecting these books. Some day I will visit his collection and introduce you to them. Meanwhile I want to introduce you to one of my firsts - 'A Vision of India' by Sidney Low - 1911 edition...

 Will be back with more on this once I read it!!


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