sans serif records the demise of T.N. Shanbhag, the founder of Bombay’s legendary book store, Strand Book Stall, in Bombay on Friday morning. He was 84.
Mr Shanbhag, who was once so poor that he couldn’t afford 75 paise to buy a paperback, built his enterprise, now happily expanded to Bangalore and Mysore, on the motto that no young person should walk out of his store without a book in hand.
For his rigours, he was awarded the nation’s third highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri.
Strand’s location in the busy “Fort” area of India’s commercial capital, also made it a chattering hole for journalists working in nearby addresses.
Writes Namita Devidayal in The Times of India:
“There was a time when the senior editors of The Times of India would go to Strand after lunch, browse and catch up with Shanbhag, and then stroll back through the arched arcades of Dadabhoy Naoroji Road, as part of their daily constitutional.
“‘Sham Lal’s wife hated me because he spent all his time and money on books,’ Mr Shanbhag used to joke about the former Times editor. The writer Khushwant Singh [former editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India published by The Times group] once declared, on a BBC show, that Strand was the only ‘personal bookshop’ in India.”
Read the full obituary: He spent a lifetime serving the written word