An Evening Well Spent

What does one do on a lazy Saturday evening? Take a nap? Go window shopping? Sleep? No! I did all three but was still bored. So I decided to do the next best thing. Visit a bookstore.

I always wanted to check out a bookstore (and lending library) called EveningHour, founded and run by Priyanka Gontla. A little research tells me that Priyanka was a a software engineer with UBS, USA. She left IT to get into something that I always wanted to...but couldn't.

Ok, getting back to the bookstore visit. Incidentally yesterday was also when Anand Vishwanadha, the author of Moving On (a collection of poems), was having a reading session at EveningHour. The event was called Saundhi-- An Evening of Poetry. I already had bought Anand's book from EveningHour's online bookstore. Unfortunately, a friend borrowed it from me and left Hyderabad (along with the book). I had to buy another copy from Walden. The sole intention of my trip was to check out the brick and mortar bookstore and meet Anand.

So off I went, in search of the store in Kukatpally. I don't know the area so well but had Google Map on my side and was soon able to find ICICI Bank after a few mis-turns. The store is in a building next to ICICI Bank. Finding the store was the easiest part. The hardest part was finding a parking space for my car. It took me close to 20 minutes to find a space that had the lowest chance of being prone to tow trucks.

It was almost 7:10 PM by the time I entered the store on the 4th floor. I inquired for Anand and was shown a well built man standing next to me. I introduced myself but have serious doubts if Anand caught my name (we have never met before). I browsed through the book collection while the others waited for Dr. Giridhar Rao. By the time, Dr. Rao arrived, I already had picked up a couple of books.

EveningStore is a cute little place put together with love and care. If only the readers of the books felt the same way. I found many books have been opened so forcefully that some pages were almost on the verge of falling off the spine. If the books are categorized properly and the range (of books) broadened, this store has potential to become a haven for bookworms.

The poetry reading session started with the poems taking a new form and persona when it was being read by Dr. Rao. No wonder he is an expert linguist. After reading around 8-9 poems, started the "open-mic" session. The questions to the poet ranged from the juvenile (like, "Does Samiah know that you have written a poem on him?") to even more juvenile but thought provoking (like, "When did you think that you had what it takes to be a poet").  I too asked a couple of questions on why poets equate nostalgia with sadness and sense of longing than with fond memories and suchlike. Anand answered with patience of a mother and sincerity of a potter.

I wanted to wait till it got over but I couldn't; I had a prior commitment. I left with a smile on my face and the  contentment of experiencing and sharing (with the poet) the closure of many feelings in the form of a book on poetry.

I will go back to the store as it was an evening well spent.

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