The coronavirus pandemic’s deadly tentacles have now wrapped around the city’s most famous bookstore – Walden. Among book lovers, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t heard of the store even in a passing mention.
A mecca for bookworms, students and rare book lovers, Ram Prasad, the store’s owner tweeted on Monday, saying, “Yesterday.. With A Heavy Heart, We Closed The Last #Walden Store.
Thank You Book Lovers.. For All The Love And Support, Since 1990! Keep Reading, Keep Growing! To Paraphrase The Last Words Of The Book #GoneWithTheWind By #MargaretMitchell”..Tomorrow is another day.” The tweet led to an outpouring of people saddened to find their favourite bookstore’s last branch shuttering down. Only last year, the owners had shut down their flagship Begumpet store, and moved operations to their Banjara Hills and Gachibowli branches.
As celebs and common man alike expressed the countless memories they had attached to the place, the owners feel happy that their gamble in 1990 managed to leave such a big impact on people even 30 years later.
Shobha Prasad, co-owner of Walden store recalls, “In those days, there wasn’t a store spread out over 7,000 sq feet selling so many categories of books. We stocked lot of rare books as well. People and children would spend hours here reading them.
There was a popcorn stand, T-shirt printing, Meet ‘N’ Greets with famous authors like Ruskin Bond, celebrity chef Tarla Dalal, Robin Sharma. Many authors would specifically approach us to have their books sold at the store. Due to the proximity to the Begumpet airport, many celebs would stop by to pick up books.
Raveena Tandon was regular visitor, as was Sonali Bendre and Kajol. From the city, Dr Nageshwar Reddy who is a voracious reader was a regular visitor every Sunday in the first 10 years; in fact, people would stop him and ask for advice too. ”
When the couple decided to open a store of this scale in the city, many advised them to rethink their decision. “A lot of people told us ‘who will buy only books?’ But, a majority of the sales came from books. It was a hit from the get-go. Later, we added stationery, other knick-knacks, there was a whole section dedicated to music and greeting cards. Children would come to us for researching their project works.
Now people Google, earlier it wasn’t so. It’s a combination of factors that has led to the closing. But, I feel glad that the bookstore has touched so many hearts,” admits Shobha. The couple has not ruled out the possibility of opening another store in future, but for now, they are going into retirement.
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