The title must have enticed the readers out there. Which reader wouldn’t like to go to a place where s/he can get loads of books and endless cups of tea?
Being an avid reader myself, I couldn’t resist from availing this opportunity as soon as I knew about its existence. Lucky as I am for being a Delhiite, I didn’t have to go too far to find the amusing Oxford Bookstore. It’s located in the N Block of Connaught Place, New Delhi. One of the latest branches of the old Oxford Bookstore of Calcutta (established in 1919), the Connaught Place Oxford Bookstore was opened recently in 2013.
For minds that cannot rest at one place and want to wander to several places at a time, this bookstore has done wonders for them. Readers find bliss her. Remember, I am talking about the times when the crowd has not covered the place like a swarm of bees around a hive. Due to the small size of the place, accommodating a large crowd at a time becomes quite difficult at times.
I have visited the Oxford Bookstore at least four to five times; mostly when the place is full of books and not people. It is attached with a small and pretty Cha Bar. So, if you are interested in books and your friend is not, then you won’t find difficulty in convincing her to come with you. She can get some great snacks and tea at the Cha Bar while you browse through your favourite books.
The best part about the Oxford Bookstore is that it always welcomes you with a new decoration. As you step up the red staircase, the entrance will be decorated with something new every time. The last time when I visited there, I found a pretty lady in red engrossed in a book with an umbrella by her side. She looked like the little red riding hood, all grown up to become the pretty reading lady in red. After the first entrance, there is a small intermediary room with a table in the middle. As per the theme set by the bookstore, the table is decorated with the books and other items like wires, handcuffs & magnifying glasses (for detective fiction), lights, etc. Both these entrances are surrounded by carved walls that are filled with coffee table books of travel, fashion, or politics genre. You may also find some enriching biographies lying on a separate shelf there.
As you enter into the main hall, there are a variety of fashion articles, bookmarks, diaries, journals, and similar other customized stuff on display. Volunteers put up stalls of quirky notebooks, bags, t-shirts, incense sticks, mugs, earrings, drawing pads, and other items. Some of these volunteers come from NGOs and helping agencies. Besides this, the presence of a large number of books with a round sofa in the middle makes the bookstore a lovable place for all. In the corner, a small room is designated for the events that are conducted there for readers and publishers.
Attached to this bookstore is a small bar known as Cha Bar, as it is famous for its different varieties of Chai. Do try the “truck driver chai” when you visit it. It’s amazing! Besides this, I have tasted the arabiatta pasta and the strawberry shake. Both were nice. Although the music is loud at this chai bar, you will surely enjoy having breakfast, brunch, or a light snack to accompany your hour-long reading session.
Writing this and already deciding the date when I will be visiting the Oxford Bookstore again!