Hauz Khas, New Delhi
Imagine all of Dilli Haat packed in at The Shop Around the Corner from the Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks starrer You’ve Got Mail (1998). The Storyshop is a bit like that. It’s got Dilli Haat’s vibrance, colour and energy, neatly accommodated in an intimate space where stories are told, enacted, read out and imagined.
The Storyshop has a story literally everywhere: in the books, on the walls, stitched on to the handicrafts. The idea is to make reading and literature appealing and fun for children. The assortment of knick-knacks and books will appeal equally to adults.
There are quaint and quirky handicrafts—from dragonfly fridge magnets in papier mâché, to wall hangings, jewellery and bookmarks in patchwork, bookmarks by the elephant poo brand Haathi Chaap, notebooks and other stationery items and Dastkari Haat’s wall clocks in painted wood (some foot-shaped, and some with Buddhas). Most of these handicraft works are made by communities working in Katha’s outreach programme. Opened on 14 November, the store attempts to bring together all of Katha’s work—in translation, education and outreach—under one umbrella.
The good stuff
The book collection is eclectic— with classics (Chaucer’s rather adult The Canterbury Tales appears in a beautifully illustrated, and sanitized version), the evergreen Enid Blytons and Bill Wattersons, and contemporary Indian writers such as Kiran Nagarkar, Geeta Dharmarajan, Meenakshi Bhardwaj and Shanti Krishnaswamy. Proceeds from all the handicraft items go to a cause—women and children in slums, folk artists or recycled paper.
Word power: The assortment of books will appeal equally to adults. Sarang Sena/Mint
A host of engaging literary activities have been planned at the store. Every Saturday, there will be either a storytelling or art or origami or recycled paper workshop. From 23 December to 2 January, there will also be a winter carnival with more storytelling, puppetry, film appreciation and a Sufi literature workshop.
Space is a constraint, which means that the collection of books is not exhaustive and it can only seat a maximum of 50-odd children at a time. Prices of some of the handicraft items are steep.
The cheapest item here is a book mark at Rs 22; the crazy fridge magnets in papier mâché, clay and beadwork range from Rs 50-100. Notepads are for Rs 50-300, and some of the wall-hangings and cushions are from Rs 450-850. The Dastkari clocks are a steal at Rs 400-800.
Katha Storyshop, A3, Sarvodaya Enclave, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi. The nearest metro station is Hauz Khas.