Not Just Any Bookstore

It was the only of its kind and much more. An extension of the loud and densely packed roads laid right in front of it, heading towards enchanting promenades, glittering palm trees, LED screens flashing the next big thing with stony ambition. New dreams for some? Surely, but within sensible limits. Those walls housed paper and metal, some in the form of top-notch page-turners and recycled film posters, others in steely white stamps of authority on machines. In another corner lay shelves upon shelves of quality art equipment. Colourful Sarasa pens, paintbrushes and measuring instruments were waiting to be used on perforated sheets and by curious art enthusiasts. Families carrying plastic bags of red and blue, with a bold print proclaiming the uniqueness of this venture — NOT JUST ANY BOOKSTORE — were led into recognizing this novelty.

These worlds converged under one gigantic establishment and allowed escape for those who entered, but they also prescribed a course of action cautiously. Upon climbing lengthy marble stairs and on to a vast stretch of rough grey carpeting, books are found sandwiched between divisions of pale blue metallic shelves. The bestsellers and the literary canon have definitely found their place, as have the ETS and Cambridge. Business and management are no exception, they’re the mainstay of economic and personal achievement, and probably the reason why this bookstore even exists. Few steps further, and a vast repository of recipe books, self-help titles, and memoirs face shelves carrying books on faith and spirituality. They don’t grab the attention of many, but when they do, it’s usually women trudging along with their 7-year-olds, crying because they lost their iPhone amongst the laptops downstairs.

With so much abundance in sight, it would seem that time would no longer pass by without being made. That’s how its weight was endured against sudden dizzying change. Those ambitious roads suddenly seemed to be running into dead ends. All these attractively enveloped 300-page experiences — were they really a plunge into slower worlds? What did they mean for people who passed by them and wanted to be a part of the same field that brought them their stories? Someone once told me it was their sole access to parts of their subconscious that would otherwise remain inaccessible, and indeed, they are. How they would unfurl their own thoughts and surmount these concretes is a challenge they’ve braved boldly, but the ones awaiting them outside was another matter. And so until then, they, along with many others continue to paint new worlds with whatever they can lay their hands on in gentle objection.

Perhaps it was just one of many like it.



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