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Emma Watson effect: Delhiites double as book fairies to spread the joy of reading

Influenced by Hollywood actor Emma Watson’s initiative to promote reading, Delhiites have also joined the cause, where they leave books at random places in the city, for others to pick up and read.

books Updated: Jun 16, 2017 17:35 IST
Rishabh Suri
Rishabh Suri
Hindustan Times
Emma Watson,Delhi Metro,Delhi
Youngsters read a book while travelling in a metro train.(Getty Images)

If you find an abandoned book on your next trip in the Delhi Metro or at a public place in the Capital, please feel free to pick it up, take it along and read it. Just try to leave it at some public place, so that someone else might enjoy it, too. And if you are wondering who left it for you, , well, you can thank Delhi Book Fairies — these are some kind people who are championing the cause of promoting reading by leaving books all around the city.

The idea of leaving the books around town is inspired from Hollywood actor Emma Watson, who popularised the concept of book fairies or books on the subway in the United Kingdom.

Back in Delhi, authors, corporate guys, students and homemakers are all joining the cause.

Keshav Chhabra, an MA student of Delhi University, who is pursuing English literature, is one such book champ. He informs, “I am part of the group called The Book Fairies, which came into existence early this March. It is a global online community, and the members are called book fairies, we have presence in more than 25 countries. We regularly work in association with the Harry Potter star Emma Watson’s book club — Our Shared Shelf. We go around leaving books at random places in our cities.”

Keshav Chhabra, a post graduate student of English literature in Delhi University is the official book fairy of Delhi. ( Facebook/ Keshav Chhabra )

He adds, “It is to re-inculcate reading habits in people that we started this group. Anyone can become a book fairy by ordering stickers and ribbons from the website Those who drop books are also promoted to share a picture of them with the book, on various social media platforms.”

I was waiting for my train at Vishwavidyalaya metro station a few days back, when all of a sudden my friend got excited having spot a book on the bench at the platform. A bit apprehensive to pick it up at first, I was really happy... — Ruchika Soni

Likewise, Delhi-based couple Shruti Sharma and Tarun Chauhan, as part of their independent initiative Books On The Delhi Metro, have been leaving literary surprises around the Capital. “I follow Emma on Instagram, and [saw] her post on dropping books on the subway for an organisation called Books On The Subway. Being her fan right from the Harry Potter days, I contacted the public group seeking permission to start a similar trend in my city. They readily agreed and my husband and I took to dropping books almost immediately, last month,” says Shruti, who is a writer.

And then there are people like Surabhi Narwal, a banker, who is doing her bit independently. “I think it’s a great idea. So, now, if I like a book and I want to share it with people, I leave it either at a coffee shop or in the metro. I got the idea from the Internet and started doing this randomly,” she says.

From The Colour Purple by Alice Walker to Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis and The Hound of Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, there are titles from all genres that one can expect to find, if lucky!

Shruti Sharma and Tarun Chauhan have founded the group Books On The Delhi Metro. ( Facebook/Shruti Sharma )

And the joy of unexpectedly finding a book is immense, according to those who have. “I was waiting for my train at Vishwavidyalaya metro station a few days back, when all of a sudden my friend got excited having spotted a book on the bench at the platform. A bit apprehensive to pick it up at first, I was really happy when I saw a sticker on the cover that had words ‘book fairies’. So, I picked it up and loved reading it. And I left it somewhere for someone else to read it,” says Ruchika Soni, a 28-year-old school teacher.

People are also uploading about their book finds on the photo-sharing website, Instagram, and on social media websites, too. “We love it when people put pictures of the books they find or they plan to drop. We also welcome people to tell us about the places they want us to leave books, and even the titles that they like to read, by tagging us on our social media accounts,” says Sharma .

However, some people spoil the fun and break the chain by hoarding the book. “Some people don’t drop it and that is not nice. I think someday they will feel the need to share the books with others, too. I hope that the trend will grow and those who love books will ultimately follow the right path,” laughs Shruti.

First Published: Jun 15, 2017 17:58 IST