Strand Book Stall closes down. A heart-breaking news for every book lover.
Hundreds of memories are associated with Strand Book Stall.
As a student, I used to collect pocket money and save it for books. Strand offered a vast collection and great prices – so I could get more for my hard-saved money. I would sacrifice many things to collect more money for book. Though it started with stretching my money, what eventually won me was the great collection, personal touch and warm service. I met Mr Shanbagh many times and he would take so much interest in kids like us.
My trips from Goregaon to Churchgate for buying books at Strand would be happy events in my annual calendar. I could only afford 2-3 trips in a year, but whenever I could make more trips, it would be a bliss. The annual Strand sale was awaited with much eagerness and it would be held at large Sunderbhai hall. I would carry so many bags and my fingers would have mark of the weight. I have been scolded the most for buying and collecting so many books. Even today my Bombay home is full of books. I always have been guilty of diverting my clothing and food funds to books.
Mr Shanbagh and Strand really wanted everyone to love books and they did everything to spread that love. The prices at Strand were rock bottom. Not only Mr Shanbagh but his entire team shared the same love. I have clear memories of Mr Giridhar – he would reserve books for me and often call me when our demanded books arrived. We spent hours in the book store and they did not mind it.
Strand offered us a standard 20% discount. It used to import books and was the preferred place for every true book lover. Since it humble openings in Strand Cinema to the Fort store, it has gained nothing but love and trust.
70 years after its opening, it will finally close on Feb 28, 2018. A sad day for every book lover. The sadness is there. It was not a book store, it was a friendly place where others who shared books for love came together. I would like to thank Mr Shanbagh and his family for spreading the love for books. The books are important part of my life and Strand was an important part of my life.