Start of dream
It’s 11 am. A slight breeze is touching my cheeks. I cannot feel the air on any other part of my body because I am fully covered from head to toe. It’s winter. So what am I doing outside in this chilly weather this early in the morning? It’s this bookstore! It opened very recently. I have been planning to visit it since I heard about it. I am standing in front of it now. Himalaya Parbat Bookstore and Café– the name of the book cafe was written in a cute cursive font with an attractive design of books and tea. I stand there for a few minutes admiring the look and feel of the book cafe from the outside. From here, I can see the inside too. I can see and even feel the hustle and bustle of excited book lovers. With a feeling of joy, I enter pushing the glass door in. The cool breeze from the air conditioner, the classy white interior, the soft murmur of people, and the delectable whiff of adrak chai, cake dough, and samosas, envelope me in a welcoming hug. This all seems to happen in slow motion so that I can take in every sight, sound, and smell of the place.
Now my eyes are looking at the things that brought me here. Books! Books of all sizes and colours spread as far and wide as I could see. Without wasting any more moments, I walk towards the nearest bookshelf designed in sleek white with forts, flags, and soldiers depicted on it. The books here were historical fiction and non-fiction. The first thing I did was check the price of the books. No point in buying here if it is too costly. I turned the book and O! Such a low price! I checked most books to see if it was the case for all. Yes, it was! The books looked in A1 condition and were so affordable. After satisfactorily having browsed the section, I move to the next. This one was designed in the shape of a heart pierced with an arrow. The shelf belonged to romance books. I took more time browsing this shelf. The soothing romantic song being played added to the mood and made the air lighter. Then I move to the next. How delightful is this! Every bookshelf was designed according to the genres of the books it held. It added to the beauty and charm of the books. I had 4 books in my hand- one from historical fiction, one from mythological fiction, and two from romance.
There are still 5 more shelves to browse. I plan to browse them after a while. Books in hand, I move towards the cafeteria. It is a small space at one corner of the bookstore. There are no gates here so the café seamlessly blends in with the bookstore making it feel cosy and welcoming. I see a vacant powder blue sofa near the window. All the seating arrangement is unique here- there are sofas, pouffes, swings, and thick mats. All of them are enough to accommodate more than 50 people at a time. There are quite a few people already sitting here. I quickly go towards the empty sofa, put my books and bag on the table and sofa respectively and head towards the food counter. The menu looks delicious- noodle samosas, stuffed garlic bread, vada pav platter, tandoori spaghetti, and more. The beverages look as enticing- kadak adrak chai, hazelnut latte (hot and cold), spiced badam shake, natural juices, etc. I order noodle samosas and kadak adrak chai and settle in my place on the comfy and stylish sofa. I pick up the romance book and start reading while waiting for my food to arrive.
I am slowly flipping the pages of the romantic book. It starts beautifully. And poetically. That’s how all love stories should be, at least their start should be. “Excuse me, ma’am, your order.” My food has come finally and looks delicious. There are 2 medium sized noodle samosas and the steaming hot tea looks very inviting. The size of the cup was perfect-neither too small nor too big. I take a bite of the samosa and the combined taste of the crispy samosa layer and masala noodles dance creating a tune of flavours that I instantly love. I keep the book aside while enjoying the samosa so that the oil on my fingers doesn’t get stamped on the book. This is going to be one of my favourite snacks after now. I pick the second samosa having forgotten the tea completely. I finished both the samosas within minutes. Satisfied and fueled, I go back to my book.
I come across a lovely exchange between the female character and her mother and I smile. I haven’t been introduced to the main actor of the story yet. Now there’s a scene that makes me laugh. The laughter makes me take my eyes away from the book and land them on the table in front of me. Oh no! The chai is getting cold. I pick it up and sip. Hmmm, this is so good, I comment mentally. I take more sips of the tea and go back to my book again. The story moves fluidly; I am already liking the main female character- we have so much in common.
I pick up my tea and… it’s finished! I mourn a little because it was so good. I order a hazelnut cappuccino this time and settle back with my book. I read the coffee arrives, I sip and feel wow (it’s as good as the tea), read….
I put down the book and remember the page number- 12- since I didn’t have any bookmark with me. I take my cappuccino in hand and look around. Besides me is an indoor lily plant. The wall opposite me has quotes from famous books in attractive fonts. They make me want to enter the world of my favourite books again. The music playing in the background is Say It Right by Nelly Furtado. It’s one of my favourites and brings back the whiff of childhood.
I resume my book shopping. I head to the shelves dedicated to science fiction, thriller and mystery, children’s literature, short stories, fantasy, chick lit, and illustrated fiction. I pick 5 more books from these sections. On one corner opposite the café, there is a small section dedicated to bookish merchandise.
Oh perfect! My excitement rises once again upon seeing this section. It is a stall-like area with all the bookish things lying tastefully. I keep the books in my hands aside and start choosing from the lot. There are stunning bookmarks, key chains, fridge magnets, small photo frames/wallpapers, socks, candies, scented candles, tiny figurines, phone back covers, pillow covers, music boxes and so many more related to books and book characters. There were some merchandise related to authors as well.
I pick one merchandise from each category. Satisfied and having an increased dissatisfaction at the same time, (I will come back!) I finally head to the payment counter. There sat a smiling young girl wearing beautiful Twilight book earrings. I paid the bill and received a handy and attractive bag and some quirky bookmarks along with the purchase. I thank the girl and leave, smiling from ear to ear.
End of my dream.
There are many beautiful and cosy book cafes in the world but this is how I want a book café to be. Did the above book café mirror the one in your dreams? What is the description of your dream bookstore or book café?