Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Indie bookshops in India

Welcome to a little crowd-sourced project, mapping indie bookstores in India, prompted by an online exchange with Leonard Fernandes — who also did a disproportionate amount of the heavy lifting — and put together by me. It is embedded below, but the link on Google maps is https://bit.ly/bookstores-in-india

You can help by going through the map and checking if we’ve missed bookshops you know and giving us their names and locations, or even better, a Google Maps link or latitude-longitude. As you will see, vast swathes of the country are missing. And, since my social media circles are more likely to include folks who read in English, there are probably lost of shops selling books in other Indian languages that we missed. Also, if I’ve included shops that you know are not primarily booksellers (see next para), let me know. (If you’d prefer not to comment here, you can find my social media links here on the sidebar.)

What it includes:
Brick-and-mortar shops which are solely or mostly sellers of trade books. (Simplistically, not textbooks or academic publications. Though, of course, books you and I buy for leisure reading can find themselves included in syllabi and all books educate us.)
What it does not include:
• Shops that primarily sell stationery, or textbooks or educational books.
• Shops that sell books that promote only one religion, or one organisation, or one political party.
• Shops owned by a publisher or distributor which only, or primarily, sell books by that publisher or distributor.
• Shops which are part of large chains (more than two shops in more than two cities, to draw an arbitrary line). Nothing against these — I’ve done a fair amount of book-buying from them — but this is to support the indies.
If the shop also runs within the same premises an unrelated for-profit business — say a café — then we’ll only include them if their primary gig is book-selling.

Oh, and you should check out Independent Bookshops Association of India which is still building its membership.

I do not own or run any bookshop, and no one has paid to be included in this map.

Support your local small and indie bookshops!

Since I know lost of people lack the patience to go through the map to see what is already listed before making suggestions, here is the list, sorted by state, city, name. There are 102 of them thus far.

Pages The Book Shop (Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh)

Buddha Grove, The (Guwahati, Assam)

Browser, The (Sector 8, Chandigarh, Chandigarh)
Capital Book Depot (Sector 17, Chandigarh, Chandigarh)
English Book Shop, The (Sector 17, Chandigarh, Chandigarh)

Kutub Khana Anjuman-e-Taraqqi-e-Urdu (Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi)
Eureka Bookstore (Greater Kailash, New Delhi, Delhi)
Midland Book Shop (Hauz Khas, New Delhi, Delhi)
Bookshop, The (Jor Bagh, New Delhi, Delhi)
Full Circle Bookstore (Khan Market, New Delhi, Delhi)
Faqir Chand and Sons (Rabindra Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi)
May Day (Shadipur, New Delhi, Delhi)
Midland Book Shop (South Extension I, New Delhi, Delhi)

Flying Goat- Café | Bar | Bookstore, The (Anjuna, Goa)
Manali Bookshop & Computer Services (Anjuna, Goa)
Literati Bookshop (Calangute, Goa)
Dogears Bookshop, The (Margao, Goa)
Golden Heart Emporium Book Store (Margao, Goa)
Broadway Book Centre (Panaji, Goa)
Singbal's Book House (Panaji, Goa)
Varsha Book Stall (Panaji, Goa)

Chapter101 (Gurugram, Haryana)
Quill and Canvas (Gurugram, Haryana)

Maria Brothers (The Mall, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh)

Blossom Book House (Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Bookhive, The (Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Bookworm, The (Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Gangarams Book Bureau (Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Harivu Books (Basavanagudi, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Select Book Shop (Brigade Rd, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Lightroom Book Store (Cooke Town, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Gangarams (Domlur, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Sapna Book House (Indiranagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka) Nagasri Book House (Jayanagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Funky Rainbow (JP Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Ranga Shankara book shop (JP Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Walking BookFairs (JP Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Paperback Bookshop (Kalyan Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Aakruti Books (Rajajinagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Bahuroopi Book Hub (Sanjayanagara, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Champaca Bookstore (Vasanth Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)
Goobe's book republic (Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka)

Kochi Books (Kochi, Kerala)
Modern Book Centre (Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala)
Saradha Book Center (Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala)

Readers Paradise (Indore, Madhya Pradesh)
Rupayana Booksellers (Indore, Madhya Pradesh)

Granth the book world (Kolhapur, Maharashtra)
Book Lovers (Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Happy Book Stall (Bandra, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Title Waves (Bandra, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Trilogy (Bandra, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
White Crow Books and Coffee, The (BKC, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Books Plaza (Borivali, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Kitab Khana (Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Wayword & Wise (Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Hindi Granth Karyala (Girgaon, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Paperback Prithvi Bookshop (Juhu, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Naaz Book Depot (Mandvi, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Kahani Tree (Prabhadevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Granth Book Store (Santacruz, Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Bombay Book Bureau (Vashi, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Varsha Book Centre (Vashi, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Pagdandi (Baner, Pune, Maharashtra)
Akshardhara Book Gallery (Pune, Maharashtra)
Book World (Pune, Maharashtra)
Read & Brew - The Bookstore Cafe (Pune, Maharashtra)

Paper Planes Lamka (Churachandpur, Manipur)
Books & Coffee (Imphal, Manipur)
Readers Book Store, The (Imphal, Manipur)
Ukiyo Bookstore (Imphal, Manipur)

Book Mark, The (Shillong, Meghalaya)

Book Cafè, The (Aizawl, Mizoram)

Common Room, The (Kohima, Nagaland)

Modern Book Depot (Bhubaneswar, Odisha)
Walking BookFairs (Bhubaneswar, Odisha)

Basement Bookstore, The (Jaipur, Rajasthan)
Kaul Kraft (Jaipur, Rajasthan)

Rachna Books (Gangtok, Sikkim)

Rare Books (Mandaveli, Chennai, Tamil Nadu)
K Krishnamurthy Booksellers (T. Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu)
Turning Point (Madurai, Tamil Nadu)
Sudarsan Books and Crafts (Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu)

Haziq & Mohi Rare Books (Charminar, Hyderabad, Telangana)
Book Mark (Gachibowli, Hyderabad, Telangana)
Akshara Books (Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana)
M. R. Book Store (Ameerpet, Hyderabad, Telangana)

Danish Mahal (Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh)
New Book Center (Meerut, Uttar Pradesh)
Indica Books (Bhelupur, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh)
Harmony The Book Shop (Shivala, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh)

English Book Depot, The (Chukkuwala, Dehradun, Uttarakhand)
Natraj Publishers (Gandhi Garam, Dehradun, Uttarakhand) Book World (Karanpur, Dehradun, Uttarakhand)
Cambridge Book Depot (Mussoorie, Uttarakhand)
Modern Book & General Store (Nainital, Uttarakhand)
Narains Bookstore (Nainital, Uttarakhand)

Oxford Books and Stationery Co. (Darjeeling, West Bengal)
The Epilogue (Chotta Bhalukhop, Kalimpong, West Bengal)
Bingsha Shatabdi (Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal)
Story Teller, The (Kolkata, West Bengal)
Twins Cafe and Bookstore, The (Siliguri, West Bengal)

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Table Talk with Varun Deshpande

The flyer has a portrait of Varun Deshpande over the logo Table Talk, which flows into their name. The text: Headline: ‘Growing meat’ Subhead: ‘Planet-friendly protein’ Below, ‘Sunday, 23 January, 9 p.m. IST’

Table Talk with Varun Deshpande
Date: 23 January, 2021
Time: 21:00 IST

In India, contrary to some western belief, most of us aren’t vegetarian. True, our per capita consumption of animal protein is nowhere near as much as in some more developed economies, but there are a lot of us, so we wind up eating a fair amount between us. I’m a meat eater too, but not one with an untroubled conscience. I’ve tried over the years to reduce my consumption of meat, eating it maybe once or twice a week, but I like it too much to quit entirely.

So, a few years ago, when I was with The Hindu, I was intrigued when my friend Lynn de Souza forwarded some material to me from the Good Food Institute, which had begun operations in India, and suggested I meet up with them. I did, and I have followed their work since. GFI is an international network of non-profits that works towards sustainable ways of giving us our protein, allying with scientists, foundations, governments, entrepreneurs, and corporations.

Our guest this Sunday is Varun Desphande, MD of GFI Asia. Varun has been deeply immersed in healthcare and technology from a very young age, studied chemical and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, and has worked on implementing digital health in India and the USA.

We will talk, as we usually do on Table Talk, about formative food memories, and from there we will go on to his journey to GFI and why he chose this work to focus on and more about what GFI does. Along the way, we will learn about the two main streams in this field, lab-gown meat and plant-based meat substitutes, and what the latest developments are. We will chat for a couple of hours, more if Varun and you folks are amenable. And, as ever, there will be plenty of time for audience questions.

Giving back

Table Talk is free to attend, but we ask our guests to name a charity or cause they support, and we ask those attending to make a donation to that cause, Varun has two choices, GFI itself — it is a non-profit, as I said above, and this is their donation page — and Fortify Health Foundation, which works on anaemia and neural tube defects in India, through flour fortification. You can find out how to donate via this page.

Attending

You will need to go to the Zoom link and register with a valid email address, after which you will get the link to join the event.

To get notifications of new episodes and links to past episodes, please subscribe to:
- this Google Group: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/ttandfps
- and / or this Telegram Channel: https://t.me/TTandFPS

(About Table Talk and past guests.)

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Chances are…

There was a time in advertising, when a lot of ad copy started with ‘Chances are…’

And back when I was a junior trainee dogsbody in Lintas, my reporting boss, Cherian Varghese, reacted to copy we showed him with either ‘Chances are there’ or, more often, ‘Chances are lesssss.’

These things are important for context.

So, one night, we were all up late in Express Towers, finishing off stuff for the weekly meeting at our big client in Pune. Our creative director and the client servicing team would be at VT in the morning to catch the Deccan Queen to go present stuff to the client’s top brass. There was a lot of work, print ads, hoardings, TV scripts, and below-the-line stuff like leaflets.

Cherry kept bouncing our ideas, our headlines, body copy even. We heard ‘Chances are less’ many times that night. At some point, in one of the smaller items, one of us put dummy copy in the layout as a place-holder. Only, instead of the usual Lorem Ipsum, we filled up the available space with ‘Chances are less, chances are less, chances are less,’ and ended with ‘Chances are there.’ We were mighty amused with our wit.

We ordered dinner. The night wore on. We were tired. We took printouts, made mock-ups, packed envelopes with the creative that the junior AE would ferry to the station.

We forgot* to change the dummy text.

The next day, Adi Pocha, our CD, was presenting the creative. When it came to this leaflet, glancing down seeing copy starting with ‘Chances are,’ which, as I said, was a bit commonplace, he didn’t tell client that the layout had placeholder copy which would be worked out later, as he would have normally, and began to read.

The next day at the agency, Adi, to his credit, didn’t chew us out. He just said, ‘You bastards.’

* Or did we?

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Table Talk with Kurush Dalal

The flyer has a portrait of Kurush Dalal over the logo Table Talk, which flows into their name. The text: Headline: ‘Digging in’ Subhead: ‘What lies beneath’ Below, ‘Sunday, 9 January, 9 p.m. IST’

Table Talk with Kurush Dalal
Date: 9 January, 2021
Time: 21:00 IST

Kurush has been our guest before, so I won’t re-introduce him. We will chat this time about the same broad area: the intersections of food, cooking, archaeology, anthropology, culture, and also what he’s been doing since we chatted back in May.

We’ll chat for at least a couple of hours, including questions from and discussion with the audience, and may go on longer, if Kurush and you are willing.

Attending

You will need to go to the Zoom link and register with a valid email address, after which you will get the link to join the event.

To get notifications of new episodes and links to past episodes, please subscribe to:
- this Google Group: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/ttandfps
- and / or this Telegram Channel: https://t.me/TTandFPS

(About Table Talk and past guests.)

Friday, 24 December 2021

Table Talk with Anita Roy, Kishi Arora, Krish Ashok, Kriti Monga, Kurush Dalal, Ranjini Rao, Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal, Saba Mahjoor

The flyer has portraits of Anita Roy, Kishi Arora, Krish Ashok, Kriti Monga, Kurush Dalal, Ranjini Rao, Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal, Saba Mahjoor, the logo Table Talk, and the text: Headline: ‘A little light conversation’ Subhead: ‘Looking back at 2021’ Below, ‘Sunday, 12 December, 8 p.m. IST’

Table Talk with with Anita Roy, Kishi Arora, Krish Ashok, Kriti Monga, Kurush Dalal, Ranjini Rao, Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal, Saba Mahjoor
Date: December 26, 2021
Time: 20:00 IST

Table Talk brings the year to an end with an informal chat with as many of our 2020 guests as could make it.

We’ll be looking back at the year and what we have learnt from it, with reference to food, but, as we have found through these past conversations, that can intersect with just about anything.

And of course we look forward to all of you joining us too.

We’ll chat for two to three hours, maybe more if you and our guests are willing.

Attending

You will need to go to the Zoom link and register with a valid email address, after which you will get the link to join the event.

To get notifications of new episodes and links to past episodes, please subscribe to:
- this Google Group: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/ttandfps
- and / or this Telegram Channel: https://t.me/TTandFPS

(About Table Talk and past guests)

Thursday, 9 December 2021

Table Talk with Manu Chandra

The flyer has a portrait of Manu Chandra over the logo Table Talk, which flows into their name. The text: Headline: ‘Straight toque’ Subhead: ‘Deconstructing the chef’ Below, ‘Sunday, 12 December, 9 p.m. IST’

Table Talk with Manu Chandra
Date: December 12, 2021
Time: 21:00 IST

The various Olive brands, Toast & Tonic, Monkey Bar, The Fatty Bao, Cantan… You’d think I would have first encountered Manu through one of the many innovative, popular and critically acclaimed restaurants he has nurtured and/or created. But when he was making his mark, I was going through a particularly insolvent phase and then rebuilding from there, and fine dining was something that was, as my young friends say, out of my aukat. I first met him when I was editing ForbesLife India, and he wrote for us about the importance of sourcing local ingredients, and since then, his has been one of the voices on food that I’ve listened to carefully. At one point I somehow wound up on the guest list for the opening of The Fatty Bao in Bombay, and had the additional good fortune of having Manu sit with Antoine and I and informally explain some of the thinking behind his ideas.

The making of Chef Chandra started with an early interest in food and what went into making it and presenting it, and continued with formal study (like previous guest Kishi, he trained at the Culinary Institute of America, and their times there overlapped a bit), apprenticing in celebrated kitchens (Restaurant Daniel, Le Bernardin, Gramercy Tavern, Café Centro, Jean Georges), formative jobs (Mandarin Oriental,  Eyvind Hellstrom’s Bagatelle), prizes (a Sea Food Masters Award for the National Recipe Competition in the USA), before he returned to India, where he joined Olive Beach in Bangalore as Chef de Cuisine.

We will chat about this journey and his other formative influences, his work highlighting locally sourced ingredients, what it takes to be a chef, the challenges of running restaurants — multiple restaurants, each with distinct identities — the joys and sorrows of celebrity, The Social Kitchen, an initiative he is part of that wants to “bring families back to the kitchen or table to interact and talk using new kitchen design,” and what he’s been up to since he decided, a few months ago, to leap into the unknown. As ever, be prepared for digressions — these are conversations, not formal interviews — and you’re welcome to nudge us into them or back on topic.

We’ll chat for at least a couple of hours, including questions from and discussion with the audience, and may go on longer, if Manu and you are willing.

Giving back

Table Talk will stay free to attend and free to listen to or watch later, for as long as I can afford to keep it that way. But we would like to use our privilege to help others, so we’re asking our guests to choose a cause.

(I’ll add Manu’s choice here shortly.)

Attending

You will need to go to the Zoom link and register with a valid email address, after which you will get the link to join the event.

To get notifications of new episodes and links to past episodes, please subscribe to:
- this Google Group: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/ttandfps
- and / or this Telegram Channel: https://t.me/TTandFPS

(About Table Talk and past guests.)

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

At Poetry with Prakriti this Saturday.

 

I’m reading at Poetry with Prakriti this weekend. 11th December, 7 p.m. I.S.T.

Please come by if you’re free and not too Zoomed out? Register (free) here.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Table Talk with Kishi Arora

The flyer has a portrait of Kishi Arora over the logo Table Talk, which flows into their name. The text: Headline: ‘The sweet spot’ Subhead: ‘Finding the balance’ Below, ‘Sunday, 28 November, 9 p.m. IST’

Table Talk with Kishi Arora
Date: November 28, 2021
Time: 21:00 IST

You would think having a pal who is a pastry chef — qualified from the Culinary Institute of America no less — would be a really useful thing, right? But for over a decade now, Kishi has been sending me photographs of cake for my birthday. Would you think someone with as angelic a face could be so cruel?

Seriously though, I’m a long-time fan of hers. I first met Kishi when she was among a group of TED India Fellows I knew, and as is the way of this world, most of our subsequent friendship has been over social media, with that combination of distance and affection that so many of us know. Kishi’s a highly qualified chef, as I said, who worked in the USA and Singapore before coming back to India, where she has been a consultant for brands like Mad Over Donuts and Nature’s Basket, and Godfrey Philips India. She is also an entrepreneur, with her company Foodaholics which currently has her own line of custom-made desserts and her mother’s home-cooked meals business, Mama K Treats.

We will talk about her culinary journey and influences, as we usually do at Table Talk, before we learn what the crucial differences are between being an accomplished home cook and being a chef planning and executing menus for a changing cast of consumers, and the even more different demands and learnings of being a culinary entrepreneur. As ever, be prepared for digressions — these are conversations, not formal interviews — and you’re welcome to nudge us into them or back on topic.

We’ll chat for at least a couple of hours, including questions from and discussion with the audience, and may go on longer (three hours has been fairly routine for Table Talk, and we’ve gone as long as five).

Giving back

Table Talk will stay free to attend and free to listen to or watch later, for as long as I can afford to keep it that way. But we would like to use our privilege to help others, so we’re asking our guests to choose a cause.

Kishi’s choice is Aid India, which works with marginalised communities, helping them become self-reliant by providing support for education, healthcare and shelter. You can donate to their work here.

Attending

You will need to go to the Zoom link and register with a valid email address, after which you will get the link to join the event.

To get notifications of new episodes and links to past episodes, please subscribe to:
- this Google Group: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/ttandfps
- and / or this Telegram Channel: https://t.me/TTandFPS

(About Table Talk and past guests.)

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Table Talk with Vidya Balachander

The flyer has a portrait of Vidya Balachander over the logo Table Talk, which flows into their name. The text: Headline: ‘How food travels’ Subhead: ‘Migration, diasporas and a dash of geopolitics’ Below, ‘Sunday, 14 November, 9 p.m. IST’

Table Talk with Vidya Balachander
Date: November 14, 2021
Time: 21:00 IST

I first encountered Vidya’s byline in this lovely piece on asafoetida (which won ASJA’s award for food and drink writing in 2021), and have followed her work since. She is an award-winning food writer, and currently editor of Whetstone’s South Asia vertical. Having lived in various parts of India, Sri Lanka, and now Dubai, and with her deep interest in the intersection of food and anthropology, she struck me as the perfect person to chat with and learn about how food wanders around the globe, changing and being changed by those who consume it.

We will also talk about her life and where she has lived it, the influences in her thinking about food, what good food writing is all about, and perhaps what an editor looks for in this kind of writing. Be prepared for digressions; as ̛I’ve said from the beginning, off-topic excursions on Table Talk are a feature, not a bug.

We’ll chat for at least a couple of hours, including questions from and discussion with the audience, and may go on longer (three hours has been fairly routine for Table Talk, and we’ve gone as long as five).

Giving back

Table Talk will stay free to attend and free to listen to or watch later, for as long as I can afford to keep it that way. But we would like to use our privilege to help others, so we’re asking our guests to choose a cause.

Vidya’s choice is The Banyan, which, she says, “does stellar work in rehabilitating and housing at risk, mentally ill women in Chennai (and across Tamil Nadu).” You can donate to The Banyan‘s work here.

Attending

You will need to go to the Zoom link and register with a valid email address, after which you will get the link to join the event.

To get notifications of new episodes and links to past episodes, please subscribe to:
- this Google Group: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/ttandfps
- and / or this Telegram Channel: https://t.me/TTandFPS

(About Table Talk and past guests.)

Friday, 5 November 2021

Confronting change

“How could any sane person support X?”

“Why would an otherwise humane person do Y?”

“Do they not see the harm that Z causes?”

For X, Y, Z, insert anything that you see as harmful, antisocial, destructive. For example, pollution from fireworks, women not being ‘allowed’ to work, meat eating, namaaz in the streets, public displays of religiosity, pride in dominant caste birth, state-paid-for religious festivities.

It’s worth examining this, I think.

Perfectly nice, kind people can react in seemingly irrational ways when their beliefs, their acts (from their perspective, perhaps, their sense of self), are questioned or mocked. Even if it is something that they have not thought through but comply with, or in other ways perpetuate, because it’s what they grew up with and it does not feel offensive or wrong to them. It puts their backs up, I think, makes them act in ‘who do they think they are’ ways.

Very few people can handle such questioning without feeling like they are being attacked, and many will thus tend to react with aggression, which then sets off a spiral downwards.

The person doing the ‘accusing,’ having done the work of thinking things through, may feel what they are saying is self-evident, but it’s not easy, from the perspective of the one being ‘accused,’ to see it when one has invested deeply in an older or different way of thought.

Every reform has faced resistance; sometimes that resistance persists long after reform has, technically, taken place. But it might be more helpful to look at this through a much smaller lens: not at a whole society or even a community or a neighbourhood, but at the individual level.

So I'll throw myself under the microscope for a start.

I was brought up to aspire to be ‘gentlemanly,’ ‘chivalrous.’ My instinctive reaction if accused of being chauvinist was to get prickly, to rail against political correctness and all that. I was lucky to have patient friends who gently gave me other perspectives, and over time, my views evolved. If I had been met with aggression from the start, perhaps that wouldn’t have happened. If I’d been told back then that I was being patriarchal, that I was contributing to a way of life that was condescending to women, demeaning, treating them as possessions, etc., I just wouldn’t have seen it, and would have probably wrapped myself in my cloak of virtue and huffed indignantly. (I’d also like to think that I wouldn’t have doubled down on my behaviour or refused to think about it, but who knows?)

This is all rather random thinking aloud and lacking flow. So let me just ask, do you have thoughts on this?