I stumbled upon a certain Cafe Bibliophile on the internet when I was looking for interesting places to visit in Guwahati. The place boasted of free internet service, a cafe and library for students on their facebook page. It sounded like a cool place built upon an ideal vision to provide quality services to encourate students to read. I thought I should go there. I have a lot of unread books on my bookshelves, i must confess. I think the free and unrestricted (hopefully) internet service is what made me want to spend an afternoon there.
I visited the Don Bosco Church in Pan Bazaar and had breakfast/lunch at US Pizza before I went strolling in the local market. Unlike what I imagined the place was very hard to find. Also this is something I figured out today – Even though the street name was mentioned as Jaswanta street on the internet people would only get what you are talking about if you call it Jasobonta street. Thats right, with a thick Bangla accent.
They say that you can only explore a place truly when you go their with an open mind. If you have made up what a place would be like in your head then there is not much you will experience of the place. I tried doing that this time. I didn’t mind walking aimlessly in the Bazaar in the hot and humid weather looking for an air-conditioned Library. In the meantime I got to see the Bazaar filled with shops that sold cloths, stationery, medicine etc. I came across a small clothing store called FolkCult that sold really cool t-shirts with indigenous designs set in Guwahati. They said the print was called Skin Print. It looked like it would wear off in a few wash but they said it wouln’t. I plan to go there once again, this time probably to buy a few t-shirts. Costing 375 per piece (a little tough on my stingy self), each t-shirt was a subtle work of art. I’ll probably take a few pictures of the place next time.
I was almost tempted to buy an English bible. I am not sure why I did not. Would get it next time maybe. The place was filled with books on a variety of typically non-christian topics – feminism, sex etc. Though I was not sure if they would be books written by wise people or just books written for a christian market. I had once read a book on marriage and sex by a priest (Fr. R.H. Lesser – an awesome ‘foreigner’ priest in Udaipur who later in my life I learned debated against Arun Shourie against his book on conversion) and it turned out to be a very to the point lecture in Biology (didn’t manage to capture my teenage fantasies well).I managed to find a collection of short stories on North East which had won a Sahitya Akadmi award. A region’s literature could be the best way to know the place, I thought. Bought it. Also, bought a book on the stories of valour of different women in different parts of the world as they rose above their misery and female subjugation and did great acts of bravery. I know it sounds like a very random book to buy but I felt I could gift it to someone if it turned to be good. Afterall no one buys such books.
Oh and by the way, after walking up and down the 1 km of Jasobanta road multiple times and not being able to find Cafe Bibliophile, I called them up asking where they were located. Turns out they were closed for maintenance till Monday. Not that I was sad. My day was well spent.
UPDATE : 02/07/12 : FolkCult’s website is not funtional anymore but I managed to find this information about them from their google+ page –
“Folk Cult is a fashion dream brought together by two childhood friends Amardeep Rabha a.k.a Julius, a graduate from NIFT, Hyderabad and Dibjyoti Hanse a.k.a DJ, a post graduate from IIM, Ahmedabad. The journey started on 6th of February, 2010.”