Old Books: A Time Capsule in The Metropolis | B•LORE by BIC

Film by Jayasri Sridhar

Amidst the bustling traffic and crowds along the busy Chinmaya Mission Hospital Road below the Namma Metro line, tucked between the walls of two buildings is a small shop, covered with a corrugated tin roof. A bright hand-painted sign next to the rusted iron-grille gates reads: OLD BOOKS available.

Since childhood, this Old Books shop has been the filmmaker’s favourite space in the city. As her taste grew over the years from The Famous Five to young adult fiction-fantasy to non-fiction, it was a constant go-to for reading and buying second-hand books. Fearing that as she walks down this road, the shop might vanish someday – as so many spaces with a history and personal memory attached to them have a tendency to – Old Books has always remained, sandwiched and steadfast, amidst the ever-changing vertical urban landscape.

The film explores the story of this quaint, tiny shop and its owner, Gnanashekhar, who is as knowledgeable about the books he collects as he is excited to invite new and regular customers into his world of literary treasures. In the steadily burgeoning metropolis, with its many cyber cafes and corporate offices, this shop is almost a time-capsule: a space reserved exclusively for a moment of repose for readers, and a rare refuge for bibliophiles who love the smell of yellowed pages.