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Delhiites proved to be avid ‘human book’ readers despite India-Pakistan final

With six times the expected turnout, the debut chapter of the Human Library in Delhi was a hit.

delhi Updated: Jun 20, 2017 18:18 IST
Aditya Dogra
The ‘Different and Able’ session in progress at the Human Library event in Delhi.
The ‘Different and Able’ session in progress at the Human Library event in Delhi. (Prabhas Roy/HT Photo)

Delhiites continue to surprise with their varied interests. While a good turnout was sure expected at the Human Library’s debut Delhi chapter on June 18, no one could have imagined that Dilliwallahs from all walks of life would turn up in hordes. That too, despite an India-Pakistan cricket final, and it being Father’s Day!

A concept that first began in Copenhagen, the Human Library allows readers to borrow human books and learn from their real life experiences over a 30-minute conversation.

Eager attendees began crowding the venue, Innov 8 (a co-working space), in Connaught Place since 12.30pm — one and a half hours before schedule. “We had booked this space keeping 500 people in mind. But, there’s about six times the turnout we had expected. And that’s just awesome,” said Nishkarsh Kaushik, member of the Human Library team. “The queue outside is so long that people might actually believe it is because of demonetisation,” he laughed.

Sumira Singh, a reader who was waiting in the queue that stretched across the ‘Regal cinema’ block, shared: “I came here early with a friend because I had seen that about 500 people were expected to attend. Little did I know that we’d have to stand in line for hours because of such a great turnout. Getting Delhiites to skip a crucial cricket match for such a concept is indeed a miraculous thing.”

Thousands of Delhiites turned up for the much-awaited Human Library event. (Prabhas Roy/HT Photo)

Waiting in line, some were spotted checking the match score on their phone. “I’m a huge cricket fan, but I couldn’t have missed this for anything. Score to phone mein bhi dikh hi jaata hai. I’m eager to attend the cancer survivor session,” said Simran, a student of Daulat Ram College.

Shubham Garg, a visually impaired class XII student, was pumped for the event. His father, Puran Garg, shared, “Shubham seemed extremely interested in the concept. We encourage him do everything that can make him grow as a person. So, we’re celebrating Father’s Day here, like this.”

Volunteers of the Human Library engage the readers in a fun activity, as they wait for their session. (Prabhas Roy/HT Photo)

Three of the most preferred human books according to Rupal Prajapati, member of the organising team, were The Artefact Hunter (a historian who collects old artefacts), Himalayan Conservationist (a travel photojournalist who feels that there’s dire need of awareness for conserving the Himalayas) and Lekhak Ji (a tea seller with interesting accounts to share). “The readers are really keen to listen to these accounts and the response is just overwhelming.We might have curated 11 books, but I see so many people sharing their own stories with others while they wait, which is great!” said Prajapati.

Shubham Singh, a visually-impaired attendee — a student of Class XII — talks to another reader at the event. (Prabhas Roy/HT Photo)

We sat down with the Artefact Hunter, who told us about how his house is a museum of artefacts collected from all around. Some he had bought, some he collected on his tours and some are the ones he liked when he visited people’s home, ‘and asked them if he could take that particular piece with him” for his collection.