Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, nor is the proprietor/owner a friend or even an acquaintance. This here is just the outpouring of a slightly smitten booklover.
One of my most enduring dreams has been to own/run a book cafe. So when I hear of someone opening one I feel a wave of intense envy wash over me. There’s curiosity too. I want to see how close they are to my dream. More than once I’ve visited such places only to be disappointed. All I’ve found is overpriced coffee and one or two sad-looking racks of very predictable books titles, at least this side of town.
Which is why when I found a flyer for a book cafe tucked into my morning newspaper I was only mildly curious. One Saturday, after dropping the kids off for a session at school, my friend and I made our way to check it out since it was a mere five minute drive away.
The shop/cafe/library was still opening when we arrived and books were being carried out by the armloads onto long tables. Little bird hangers swung down at us at the entrance and a sign cheerfully proclaimed ‘Kitabi Chai’.
As we stepped in my only thought was – Damn, she stole my dream! Stupidly enough I realised I’d spoken out aloud right before the owner/proprietor, Geetika Anand. Perhaps she was used to it because all she said was, ‘You can come here and enjoy the books anytime’. We chatted for a while speaking about the trials she was facing as well as the appreciation she had received since the inception of the cafe. It was unbelievable that the place had been around for a good six months and I hadn’t known about it.
The shelves were full of books, obviously! Agatha Christie rubbed shoulders with PG Wodehouse, Coelho had his own cosy nook as did Sidney Sheldon, along with others like Markus Zusak, Paula Hawkins and everyone else we could think of. Archie and Tintin and even Tinkle found a place in this eclectic mix.
What thrilled me the most was that were a host of brand new releases, something my current library lacked. I thumbed through Balli Kaur Jaswal’s Erotic Stories (which has been recommended by every single person who has read it) and looked at it with such longing, rueing my no-book-buying pledge more than ever, that my friend bought it! And now I await my turn to borrow it :-).
One corner housed a tiny cafe. The top item on their Specials of the Day was Elaichi Chai and I would have been completely sold over, had I not been already!
My friend and I ogled and laughed (a bit too much), we read through the bookish posters and quotes on the walls, we fell in love with the quirky odds and ends, we pointed out authors and gushed at the titles and finally settled down on the cushions to gush some more. I got her to pose for me too. We behaved like a bunch of bubbling, giddy-headed, infatuated teenagers suddenly confronted with their common crush.
There are low tables, comfy cushions and bean bags strewn around making the place warm, inviting and trendy all at once. Kitabi Chai is a cafe, book-exchange joint, library and bookstore all rolled into one. I’m so looking forward to the children’s exams to be over so I can go there and just hang.