"What's this picture Mom?" "It's a Library. This is where they used to store books made out of paper." "Paper Books. Cool. But how do you install new one on to that after finishing the old one?" "No, you can't. Alas, these are outdated and we have Kindle now." "This place must be totally deserted right now and under Archaeological Department." "This place was quite deserted even then. It's a same corner where you were conceived." "MOM, eww."
Saniya leafed through the pages of Libraries, by Candida Hofer, teary-eyed. They all bullied her for being a nerd. *Pop Pop* She swallowed the pills. Her misery would end in the temple of wisdom, her school library. Spontaneously, a voice in her head spoke.. "Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn the light on." "God?" "No, Potterhead." "Professor Dumbledore! After all this time?" "Always." She hurriedly shoved the book in a shelf. Right before passing out, she mumbled to the Librarian, "Ma'am, please call an ambulance. I swallowed sleeping pills."
He was visiting his favourite library after a very long time. His job had not allowed the luxury till retirement. He went straight to the corner shelf from where he used to pick the classics during his youth. He found mostly pulp fiction based on crime, horror and sex neatly lined up on the self. 'Our collections cater to the popular demand of patrons' informed the young librarian. He noticed the old signboard with the quote' Books reflect the culture and character of the society ' still hanging on the wall. A wry smile appeared on his face.
It was 4 pm. 'Library period' just got over. 'Games period' began. A sea of ten year olds rushed out of the wide library door. As the jostle and hustle died down, Mr Malik, the librarian who had joined St Mary’s school that day saw a boy still sitting. Pankaj's head was bent at an odd angle pondering over the Nancy Drew book on the table. 'What an avid reader' the librarian thought and went about his work. The 5 pm bell rang. Pankaj walked out. Mr. Malik saw his Jaipur foot.
Raghu was a known philanderer. He recently heard about M&B series and the genre it belongs. He went to library and checked out girls who were issued M&B books. One name, Priya, stood out for she was reading only M&B. “My girl” he thought. He checked the due date. On the day, he was waiting for Priya. After some time, his friend Sameer came to return the M&B book. He confronted Sameer about it. Sameer sheepishly replied “Yaar, this is women’s genre, hence was issuing it on my sister’s card”. Raghu was more angry than disappointed.
by “Your advice has put me onto something here!” said the Commissioner with a sigh of relief. He was a lucky man. He had risen quickly. He had a case making national news. Now he had one of the most respected retired officers mentoring him. “What a man, Mr. Mehta” he thought. “Sharp but always down to earth” Mehta watched the van drive away through the blinds. As the sound of the engine faded, he chose a book from his huge library. His smile was cold and menacing. He found the page, which hid the photo of his next victim.
She didn't belong with them in that crowded room. They were, after all the sparkling jewels. But she was there. His eyes found her out and held her. His failing eyesight couldn't help noticing how worn out she was and frayed at the edges. Her yellowish skin was riddled with wrinkles, She seemed to come apart at the touch of his fingers. But she was beautiful. After all, she was that book, in his library, the pages of which contained the most beautiful story....their time tested love story!
In his bookshelf he placed his new book, ‘Libraries’. He had not visited a library after graduating. He preferred buying all his books. The idea of roaming in the library wearied him. It’s a girl thing, he thought. Until, the day of his best friend’s wedding. He was the best man. And she was one of the bridesmaids. At dinner finally they got a chance to talk… “I work at the City Library”, she said. “Most certainly my favorite place.” Enthralled by her charms he was compelled to lie. Now this book would be his only savior.
Far corner of National Library there was a dimly lit room. Hardly anyone goes there. In the past, some inquisitive tourists have wandered into that room, but never to be found again. Ron was a brave child, he didn’t believe in paranormal stories. He walked into the room confidently; there he saw a book called ‘Library’. He took the book out and was browsing through the pages. He saw a picture of a boy looking at a book. He looked closely and realized it was his own picture. Later they only found a book lying on the floor.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” he said as he gave her a book. “Book?” she exclaimed. Her husband replied, “Yes, books take you into a world of eternal magic, and only books can equal the concept of love.” She hugged him gladly, and by fraction of a second, she missed seeing a tear fall from his eyes. Little did she know that the book she had in her hand was the last book written by the girl who told her husband the exact lines in a same situation two years ago, just hours before her death in a fateful plane crash.
The presence. The fragrance. The lingering touch. The stench of the smoke. The passionate fervor. All was blurred in the mirror of time. The sharp image, the clarity of love, the preciseness of your move, hardly crossed my mind anymore. For when it was fresh, your departure, it loitered and limped in my poetry. Unsolved ambiguity clouded my judgments. To find you again, I am here. I first found you where! In the library of conviction. I caught your eyes when they reflected LIBRARIES as you picked it up that day. You exist in “them” now.
A guy about her age, stood at the far corner of the bookshelf, facing the walls. Leena peered in through the gap, while searching for, what may be a good read. Lokesh pulled up strange faces; posing, all in the name of clicking a selfie. A sudden thought ran through her mind; "Isn't, he the same fellow, who shared her interests on Quora?". She gingerly stepped forward and introduced herself to him without much ado. He no longer needed to set up his profile on that dating site, he mused to self. She matched his taste in paperback.
Couple of colored cloth pieces, a mat and an old pillow is all I have. India is going crazy with the new found love #CLEANLINESS. I have been doing so for ages, just for a meal or two not four, THAT"S LUXURY. Still remember mom would skip meals doing odd jobs to make sure I become what she was dreaming about, not knowing I would end up like this one day. She lost hope, I lost her. Just by spending little time I could have fulfilled her dreams, instead of cleaning these books, I could have been reading them.
I walked up and down the aisle, frantically. Ah! This is it, our love story, documented in a book. I took it out, flipped through pages, and somehow, it brimmed my eyes when I read how beautifully you wrote about me. I saw you, seated right across. I wanted to come, hug you, tell you how much I love you. But I was scared. You looked up, but right through me. I wanted to shout out, "You still love me, but you wont talk to me?" But I kept quiet because, I wasn't sure if you were clairaudient.
Arman’s eyes darted quickly to the left, then right, before he slowly slid one book off its shelf. He peeked at her through the gap between the books, careful not to let his stare linger. He then put the book back in its place and moved along to another section. While all his friends were more interested in playing football, he preferred the bibliotheque. He didn’t understand why he liked looking at her, or why he felt his stomach shrink when he did, but his ritual at the library gave him more satisfaction than kicking a ball.
They say it doesn’t matter where you meet your soul mate. I never believed in it anyways. Then I saw him standing out all alone; a fire within, which only he knew. How I yearned to see inside him and craved to know all about him. He patiently waited for me to make the first move. I walked slowly towards him, taking my own sweet time. I could feel the agony that was building inside. Then as I moved and picked him from many amassed by his side, I knew then Shakespeare was the true soul mate of mine.
"He wants to auction them, but I wouldn't allow that to happen." Brigadier Rajaratnam told me. He was proud of his books; most of which were collector's editions and rare books. Books were his company, as he had no family other than an adopted son. We were more than just neighbors; we shared common love; books. I wanted all of it, at least the rare ones like Candida Hofer's "libraries" to myself. "Its all yours after my time", he said pointing to the bookshelf. I stood there rooted to the ground, all but "libraries" blurred in my sight.
“Papa I saw a library today. What could be there in that library?” he asked “Hmmm. Books” Papa told Ayush. “Yes. Even I was thinking the same. I had a doubt, but now I am sure.” Papa smiles. “Why I always need you to make me believe on something I know?” “Because you trust Papa more than you. All kids do that. Fathers have all the answers always.”Mumma told him. “So does Papa call Grandpa in the old age home whenever he has a doubt?” he asked innocently. And Papa failed to answer.
The date: 19-01-2055. She found the volume unerringly. More than a directory; it listed locations where The Galacticians kept the content recreated from the world’s destroyed libraries. She checked the contents page against her ‘Restoration List’: the Library of Alexandria. The Mayan codices from Yucatan. Volumes from the ransacked libraries of Nalanda, Xianyang, the British Council. She chose ‘Nalanda’, noted the address: Courtland, W 97th St New York, made an online booking to LaGuardia. She had only seven years to digitize and save the content of her libraries elsewhere. The next Cycle of Ransacking had already begun.
“Page 91!!…43…68. 88…91!! Oh no… again wrong book” “ Is it that book?” She turned the pages of the book “89…91!! Not this one also. What will I do? Have I lost it…oh god” she said in teary eyes.. “91…91…91. Page ninety-one…. Where is that book, in which you wrote your address?” She mumbled “Page 72…83… and ninety one!!! There is a paper with a heart sign!! Oh my god!! I found it?” her eyes glanced! She opened the paper, “221b, Baker Street. Hahaha. I actually was having fun with you..I don’t love u girl.” The book dropped
‘Wonder if anyone will pick us for reading. I’ve never felt the warmth of anyone holding me in their hands,’ lamented the bright blue book in the library. ‘Be positive. It is better to be on display here than lying in a box somewhere in a warehouse,’ said the gleeful yellow book. ‘But, we are meant to be read, not just displayed,’ continued the blue one. ‘Be happy with what you have,’ said the ever-smiling yellow book. The librarian came and picked up the yellow book. ‘A little boy loved your cover and wants to read you,’ he said.
"I want to get something to read. Can you join me to the library and help search one?" asked Neha. "But I am not a reader. I don’t know anything about books" - said Rahul - reluctant yet readily walking along with a smile. We browsed through the shelves lined up with books. And then universe played tricks; we both stopped and touched the same book. Our fingers brushed and we both felt the connection then and there. Married for 15 years today - reading the same book together in moments of despair, is our secret to happiness.
He sat there talking to Hari, Ryan, Alok, Ashley, Will, Francis and many of his other best friends. For him coming to the library, reading the books and talking to the characters was the happiest time of his life. It was the time when he didn't feel lonely. For the people he was a mad man. He didn't care about the opinions because he and the people lived in two different worlds.
I don't think I'll ever forget him, the man I almost fell in love with. Slightly leaning over the Kahlil Gibran book caressing each letter with such intensity that he drew my attention even from a distance. Like in Bollywood movies, we shared a brief moment. He caught me staring and smiled. Amazed at my own brevity, I passed on a smile. As I hold that same book in my hands today, three years later, I wonder where he is. All I recount is the pair of eyes that I'd followed, even if "the road was hard and steep".
A game they often played, as wordplay was their favourite foreplay. He took a chit and smiled at her. "Break me into two and you enter the planetary zoo. I am born in March and ruled by Mars. You are bred in September and Venus is your ruler I spit Fire. You blow Air. I am the Ram and you are the Scales. As opposite as we are, together we shall be forever." Now you have two words. Make it one and you have the word. She smiled "You could have simply said, the place where we first met."
Books are my life. People call me ‘library’. Earlier, people visited me regularly, took books, returned them, took other books, and were happy reading. Then footfalls started dropping. People now google to find out anything. What is this Google? I don’t know, but it seems to be omniscient. I find it strange that people now find answers on computers, CDs, DVDs which I also have now. People are constantly fiddling with their phones. Answers on phones? All these strange ways and Google is really a googly for me. The world’s now certainly gone from Happy Reading to Happy Googling.
"Do you actually read books?" "No! I’m that little white termite who eats books. Let’s go, I’m starving.” He winked, held my hand and made a way to library. I started inspecting that place, rudimentary bookshelves carefully composed with literary taste of readers as if thousands of lives attached to the walls, waiting to be heard, to be felt since decades and that peculiar smell of books. Suddenly he squeezed my hand with flickering smile and showed me some photographs of obsolete libraries. “I want to fill those bare shelves of Candida Höfer’s libraries, I want to write.”
A famous writer was once asked, the secret of his success. He replied “Spent lot of time at libraries”. Everybody assumed the obvious, of him being well read. But he explained, “I never read much. But I spent time at libraries observing people, their behavior and concocting stories.” “Yes, the library is the reason of my literary success, not because I read all it offered, but because it was a tranquil temple letting me delve deep into my mind and meditate on stories.” Only a library can harness the power of a human mind even without its core offering.
Salim and Reema saw each other, in the village library and knew it was love at first sight. In a village known for honour killings, they knew, even a word to each other, and tensions will flare. They devised a method to communicate – through letters hid in the “United India” book placed in the corner of the library. All was fine until, one day, Salim saw a wedding card and not a letter from Reema. Police filed two separate missing persons report, but saw no connection. Even the librarian complained of the missing “United India” book, but nobody cared.
Many pages were scribbled in the book… but can't find that one page...the page where the smile of mine is lost, books look like the scars after the wound…the pain is gone but the numbness is left behind which is like a lost page!
It has been three days Mr. Francis has not visited. First time in three years. The librarian was scared until at 10.30 she saw the familiar umbrella. "Where have you been? I was so worried,” she asked. Mr. Francis gasped, "My son visited. He is taking me to America with him." Deafening silence. "Okay”, she said. Pulled out the book. 'LIBRARIES'. "Keep this." Their eyes welled. He left. At home, he opened the first page and his heart ached. He made three calls. First at the local church. Second to invite his son. Third to future Mrs. Francis.
His characters no longer surprised him. It was like he knew what was going to happen of every moment, and every scene. He had become predictable to himself. He was facing a writer's block. As he sat there reading his favorite piece of writing, the new librarian walked up to him and said, "We will have to consider suspending your membership until all your dues are cleared". The old librarian had been too fond of him to bother. He had found a muse in her. She was Libra. He was Aries. It was a celestial nuptial.
A traveller and a bookworm were holidaying together. As they waited for their turn for skydiving from the aircraft, the traveller asked the bookworm if he was anxious. “I wish I had brought over a few more books,” the bookworm said. “Ha ha! You are scared of real adventure, don’t try to cover up with excuses!” said the traveller. When it was their turn, the traveller was too scared to jump. The bookworm carried on, and before the jump he said, “I have been into more adventures than you can imagine.”
Mother handed over the postcard she found in the study," Its Kannada, read it." "I wish he was alive. He'd be delighted. Sold all silver vessels and most jewellery, saved some though, still need 100 rupees for food arrangements for the wedding. Dear sister, I can only ask this of you. " Cancer hospital: all fragile and weak- " That can't be nani” my little sister cried in dismay. I looked at her photo hanging on the wall- in a beautiful sari wearing a smile. "She never posted it" mother burst into tears and I went running to console her.
The in-house cryptologists were in favor of the book cipher. As the detective browsed through the shelves in the victim's office, the book titled, "Libraries", which during preliminary investigation, he assumed to be a standout definition to the stacked books, now felt like something more. When I was finally summoned for my appointment, I walked in to find my appointee holding the very book. As he turned to place it back, a piece of paper fell through. I later saw myself staring at a series of haphazardly arranged alpha-numerals. I felt the ground beneath me slip.
"Hey! Look at this", grinned Amit, pointing at the book. "A book named Libraries inside a library! Isn't that funny?" Smiling, Trina asked, "Got any special memories with libraries?" He nodded no, saying; "Only necessary trips to them for passing college exams!" He laughed, browsing through the book, while Trina turned her back, hiding her teary eyes. Their first meeting to that first stolen kiss, their silent fight to making up, all had happened in this very library. Yet he had forgotten. Once again, his dementia had showed its haunting presence, tinkering with his, rather, their memories.
“You don’t have to read everything, son! Just read what you enjoy.” “But how can you know if you enjoy a book if you don’t read it?” She looked at him with awe and amazement. After ten years, the same words, the same place. Unbelievable! She still remembered that meeting... “Photography books? How boring!” she had voiced. “Oh please! Try this. How can you know if…?” He had said. She now desperately searched for “Libraries”, the book which marked the beginning of their story. And there it was. Waiting. For the son to connect him with his deceased father.