Some second-hand books, and a lot of first-class knowledge in Chandigarh
From Class-10 books to UPSC study material, the Sector 15 second-hand book market is a one-stop-shop for students. However, space and economy constraints seem to have taken over and the once in demand books of the likes of Shakespeare and Ayn Rand are lost in these dusty lanes.“We concentrate on course books now, as there is less space here,” says market welfare association general secretary Sandeep Chaudhary ,42, who has been in the business for 22 years.
If syllabi were a subject
Students visiting the market go back with books coupled with clarity of the syllabi.
“Shopkeepers here may not hold big degrees, but they know everything about the syllabi spanning myriad courses,” Chaudhary tells as a students comes, says namaste, touches his feet and walks away. “I give my old books and buy new editions of the books as per my requirement,” says 19-year-old Sahil Narwal.
Back in 1970s, when Gurcharan Gulati was all of 10 years of age, he dipped his toes in the second-hand book business.
“Earlier, I used to buy books from a kabadi and then sell near Aroma (in what was Nehru Shastri market). There was no concept of second -hand books then. But it gained popularity subsequently. These books also help students from economically weak backgrounds,” Gulati says.
Its not all old horses here.Samarth Gulati, 19, who is pursuing bachelors and wants to go abroad, takes care of his father’s business in the market. I enjoy working here, he says in a distinctly dismissive way.
The market holds a special place in the hearts of all Panjab University students.
“In 2014, I was pursuing masters in journalism from PU. I was looking for a book here but had forgotten the title. I described the book the best I could to the shopkeeper. A man, in his mid 50s, with a basic matriculate degree and patience, figured it out saying — “Wonderful book. Amazing author. You are looking for The Kite Runner, right?” narrates a nostalgic Gursimranjit Kaur,27, who is a freelance writer.