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Friday, April 10, 2015

Thank you, AA Husain & Sons : You began my Life with Books

I could never forget the time, when I first walked into this particular store. On 23rd May 1988, I was just 7 years old when I trotted into a book store. Leaving my parents to fend for themselves I walked upstairs, and I saw in awe all the books. So many books to smell and so many more to read. The smell of books came from everywhere, and a sweeter smell, I have not known. I had discovered what I wanted to do. 

There I was at the store, picking out comics. I was so excited; I had never ever seen so many comics in my life. ACK and Tinkle! Boy oh boy... I was looking at them, when my dad walked in and handed me a mystery book. 

My first ever big girl’s book, I guess. It was by Enid Blyton and was called ‘The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat’. I loved the cover and quickly picked it up. After all, a girl had short hair and seemed to be playing with boys! Since I was a tomboy at the age, it fit right into my bookshelf.

I kept going back to the store and picked up books by the dozen. Almost every one of Mahabharata comics and so many other comics were bought right there. I still have them. One of the books I bought here has some dried chocolate on it, I still remember the day, I got some chocolate, after school and sat down to read. I never realised that the melting chocolate would fall on my book, I was so engrossed.

The same book store was where I got most of my school text books. I never liked that bit, though. But my summer vacation reading was taken care of, as most of my Enid Blytons, even books my Franklin W Dixon’s Hardy Boys and Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drews were all bought from this store. I had adventures and misadventures with George and Timmy, and then Nancy Drew and George. Classics and Shakespeare too, began right here. I was taken into these old English customs and their balls and dances, through the pages I obtained from this very store.

I think I have a new story to write. The Mystery of the Missing Book Store! AA Hussain literally gave me the breathing space, I needed to find at that time. Tucked away in the corner, it seemed to grow smaller and smaller as the newer and fancy stores came up in Hyderabad’s Abids. And now, I hear of it closing down.

RIP AA Hussain, you were a bookstore, which took all the kids into another world. A world, where I could dream and still do… you gave flight to my imagination and hope to my dreams.
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