How busy one can be to ignore needs or requests of people you love, to tell them that you love them? It is sad that engrossed with our self assumed “busyness”, sometimes we do not heed to matters that are important for us, our relationships, and our heart.
I still regret the time when pre-occupied with my personal self; I ignored one small request that my father had. He wanted me to create a Web site about his bookshop and the unique comments of the visitors to the shop that he had collected on his way. I kept putting that off for one reason or the other. When I look back, I feel no reason was important enough than this one small request.
Now that my father is no more, I often get this pang of guilt. That’s when I thought that maybe adding something to this site might help me end the grieving and the healing process that I’m still going through.
My father owned a quaint bookshop named Piccadilly Book Stall located in the heart of Delhi, in Shankar Market, Cannuaght Circus. He started this bookshop in 1957 and it was unique in many ways. Small in size but jam packed in books and knowledge, the shop dealt with books in mysticism, occult, yoga, I-Ching, Kabalah, Buddhism, Vedanta, philosophy, Sufism, magic, and astrology. During its lifetime and ownership, the shop reached a status of distinction and earned many loyal and returning customers. My father was proud of the fact that the shop had a far reach. In fact, more people visited his shop from all around the world than from India, many of them prominent personalities.
The part I’m proud of is the fact that like his shop he was packed with knowledge – whether history, literature, or latest news – you name it. Knowledgeable and dedicated. He started selling books at the age of 14 and self educated himself. He was an avid reader and a great narrator and storyteller. He also wrote some articles on religion, Neem Karoli Baba, and Baba Ram Dass, which featured in ‘Kadambini’, a socio-cultural-literary magazine by the Hindustan Times group. In 1997, he received a Distinguished Book Sellers Award for the last 50 years in the field by the Federation of Indian publishers.
After my father passed away, I was not able to get hold of his cherished visitor books and articles about the shop that appeared in various publications during his lifetime. I just have copies of two news articles by Roshen Dalal and Nergis Dalal, which appeared in Hindustan Times and Sunday Statesman, respectively. If you’re interested, here they are:
A Storehouse of Ageless Wisdom
The Hindustan Times, October 30, 1994
Roshen Dalal on a bookshop where you can browse for as long as you want or just sit outside and sip tea with like-minded souls.
Shortcut to Another World
The Sunday Statesman, October 23, 1983
By Nergis Dalal
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