Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Manneys and I.

There was a time in my life when every visit to Pune included a visit or two to Manneys. Before the old Manneys set in a sprawling and dilapidated colonial bungalow on the Moledina Road in the Cantonment area was renovated in mid-80s, it had a charm all its own. You could lose yourselves for hours in the rows of shelves browsing to your heart’s content without anyone bothering you. In the late 60s and early 70s, I bought quite a few books there. Many of them are still stuck in my memory. One of them was a hardcover copy of Napoleon’s Book of Fate & Oraculum for which I must have paid not more than rs.70/-. (Today, the on-line bookshops are charging around Rs.1000/- for a paperback copy of it. Pity, I lost my copy. I could have got a bit of money for its antique value.) I cannot remember the titles and/or authors of a couple of memoirs of lesser known American ad professionals that I picked up there in my zeal in those days for knowing more and more about advertising. One of my other finds from there was a collection of humorous fiction and essays of the British-Canadian writer, Stephen Leacock, in a rather elegant hardcover Bodley Head edition in an offwhite slipcase. http://bit.ly A2CWzY Unfortunately, I lost all of these books somewhere along the way. I never spoke more than a few words with the proprietor who, according to the various articles about Manneys, was always very helpful and forthcoming. Were I to muster all the nostalgia at my command, I still cannot say that the closing down of Manneys will leave a dreadful void in my life. I’m sure it won’t.