Take a cultural tour | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Take a cultural tour

From cafes crammed in heritage buildings to little galleries tucked away in quiet bylanes, pockets of culture permeate the city's spaces. Books, paintings, video installations, the media are multiple but the end result could be the same: moments of quiet serenity to bask in the city's cultural offerings.

mumbai Updated: Jan 25, 2012 01:47 IST
Bhavya Dore

From cafes crammed in heritage buildings to little galleries tucked away in quiet bylanes, pockets of culture permeate the city's spaces. Books, paintings, video installations, the media are multiple but the end result could be the same: moments of quiet serenity to bask in the city's cultural offerings.


On No TV Day, take a cultural tour of the city. In the heritage heart of the city - through Fort, Colaba and Kala Ghoda - space is hard to come by, but beauty is not. Not just in the south of the city, art can be enjoyed in other parts of the city as well.

"There are a lot of new galleries coming up, especially in the suburbs," said Madhusudan Kumar, honorary secretary, Artists' Centre, the city's oldest gallery. "There is buoyancy in the art market, the mood is good, the economy is looking up. People are also interested in more diverse forms of art now. There is a market for every form."

You just need to look, say culture vultures, in order to stumble upon little treasure troves of art and beauty. The newly opened Art and Design bookstore in Colaba is a specialist bookstore dealing in lush coffee table books and hard to find books related to the arts.
"When I want specialised books related to architecture I go the some of the smaller stores where there is hardly any crowd and you can browse peacefully," said Kairav Shroff, a student.

From specialty stores that deal in specific areas - spirituality, Gandhi, art and architecture - to general interest shops stocking fiction and non-fiction titles, there is a host of book stores to choose from the in the city. And though the online book ordering business and the advent of e-books has dented sales somewhat, storeowners are still bullish about their businesses.

"In a slight way business has been affected, but an avid reader will always treasure the feel of a real book," said Karl Karanjia, manager of Magna Books at Kala Ghoda.

"Smaller stores have more variety and you get obscure titles you would not get elsewhere," said Aditi Padiyar, 21.

Or better still explore one of the city's libraries or reading rooms. With books of all colours and persuasions nestling in shelves across the city's public libraries, some more than a hundred years old, and housing a rich treasure trove of literature, a day of reading could turn into an unexpected journey.

Run by both the state government's directorate of libraries and private trusts alike, among them the reading rooms cover a full spectrum of subjects: from the city's history to Gandhian thought to plain, old Harry Potter.

"Of course people still read, we have seen no fall in the number of visitors," said BE Sananse, officiating director of libraries. Libraries such as this one offer browsing services for free, in some others visitors have to pay a nominal amount to access the books. You can browse in the library premises, but you can't borrow. In some of these libraries, the old-world charm, the heritage interiors and the helpful librarians are reason enough to spend hours soaking up words, away from the television set.