Like many of you I am a bookworm (bibliophile is too pretentious for me) and I am always to be found with a book or two within easy reach all over the house. I have over the years haunted all the famous secondhand bookshops and pavement bookshops all over the city to replenish my reading thirst on a limited budget, as a student and surviving on pocket money. Book buying was my only vice and what my peers used to spend on cigarettes and alcohol was in my case usually spent hunting up bargains on Moore market or at Triplicane’s Wallajah Road pavement shops. When I got my first job and started seeing some serious money, I felt my status improve enough to saunter into the iconic Higginbothams in mount road or landmark’s flagship store (the original branch) at Nungambakam, browse in the comfort of air-condition and buy divinely smelling new books without worrying about the cost (most often marked in dollars and pounds). As time passed and I grew more prosperous and busier I shifted over to the convenience of reading e-books by downloading them off the net.
But however convenient an e-book reader is compared to a physical book with backlighting, highlighting, automatic bookmarking etc, the feel of holding a book in your hand and turning over the pages as fast as you can (to read the thrilling climax) will never be achieved. Hence I keep going back to the pavement shops again and again, hunting for good bargains and sometimes for some unknown author who surprises me. I also hunt down if possible the missing from my collection editions of books I read in a series. Some rare gems can often be discovered serendipitously in second hand bookshops, something for which I would have been looking for years and suddenly would chance upon one day.
And today based on a friend’s recommendation I happened to visit a secondhand bookshop which had a absolute gem of a selection of books. If you have ever passed through Anna Nagar Roundtana, you might have noticed the round building which gives it its name. in the basement of the building, there is a bookshop called by the name of its owner Moorty’s. I have passed by the place numerous times but never really went down the steps to the dark basement and entered the shop. Till today, when an out of town friend happened to mention that he had heard about the shop from a colleague and curiosity piqued I finally went down those dark steps and entered Moorty’s book nook.
First of all, let me tell you, that the bookshop is every bargain hunter’s idea of heaven. It’s overflowing with books, cartons and cartons of it boxed and piled everywhere and even the owner is not sure of what box contains what. Every kind of imaginable subject is there including all the bestsellers. And best of all these books are all originals in newly minted condition and not pirated photocopies. As Mr.Moorty the owner tells, he gets the unsold books directly from all the big publishing houses in mint condition from their warehouses and sells them at a marked down price of 60%-70% which is quite a bargain when it comes to the international bestsellers. A crisp new novel at less than half the prize you get at the big bookshops, what more are you looking for. So booklovers and bibliophiles, if you are looking for good bargains and have a limited budget head over to Moorty’s bookshop at Anna Nagar Roundtana. It’s even open on Sundays, so what’s your excuse?
P.S. As Mr.Moorty is an old man and says he would be the last of his family to be running this shop let’s hope that the shop stays open for many more years. Otherwise one more forgotten landmark of our Madras city will disappear forever.