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Business News/ Mint-lounge / Features/  Lounge loves | Trilogy, Mumbai
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Lounge loves | Trilogy, Mumbai

A quiet book store and reading space bang in the middle of central Mumbai's dining hub

Trilogy will rent out its space for events. Photo: Meethil MomayaPremium
Trilogy will rent out its space for events. Photo: Meethil Momaya

The sound of turning pages

Tucked in a corner in what was formerly Raghuvanshi Mills in Mumbai’s Lower Parel, and is now home to fancy home décor stores and restaurants, is an oddity so rare we fear for its survival. The good folks at The Eternal Library, set up in 2013, have started a bookshop and library with titles that don’t include “How To Get A Life-changing Job, And A Wife and Three Wonderful Children In 10 Easy Steps".

Meethil Momaya, 34, a wildlife photographer and Ahalya Naidu, 32, an independent book editor, opened the bookshop, Trilogy, in December. The 2,100 sq. ft space, with wooden flooring, still has empty shelves; Momaya hopes to fill these by the end of this month.

They are still talking to distributors. “We wish to have more books by independent publishers. We aren’t only looking to sell new titles," says Naidu, who admits that Trilogy’s selection of books—both for the library and the book store—is “heavily curated". “We’re not just selling books that Meethil and I like. For instance, we have a friend in Delhi who loves horror titles, and our selection here relies on her recommendation."

Momaya and Naidu point out the benefit of creating and relying on this network of book lovers. Their incipient Marathi section, for instance, has books that millennials growing up in Maharashtra would identify with immediately, including Faster Fenay, a series by B.R. Bhagwat, as well as other older titles like Amrutvel by V.S. Khandekar and Shahenshah by N.S. Inamdar. In this case too, a friend with a good knowledge of Marathi literature helped them out. Wasim Maner, a Marathi film-maker and avid reader, picked up the books from Pune and other cities.  

Since she hasn’t read these titles, Naidu has made small notes on post-its stuck on the back of these books, in case a reader walks in and asks probing questions.

Trilogy also has a growing section of Hindi books. Many titles come from their own itinerant travels to publishing conferences, such as Goa’s Publishing Next, which they attended in 2013. That’s how they were introduced to Neelesh Misra’s Yaad Sheher, based on the former journalist’s radio show of narrating stories. They hope to have Malayalam and Bengali sections soon.

There are several other titles in the library—and bookshop—that the duo has read. Naidu lists Jasper Fforde and Terry Pratchett as favourites. Momaya’s “baby" is the shelf with books by Mapin Publishing, which specializes in illustrated books on Indian art and culture. They have 114 Mapin titles.

Momaya says their biggest dilemma while setting up Trilogy was whether to buy multiple copies of a book for the library, and the shop. They decided to allow cross-pollination. “You could buy a copy from a library if you really want it, and don’t mind the library tag," he says. “We want people to read the books first, especially since many of what we stock aren’t easily available," says Naidu.

At a time when bookshops are fast turning to DVD and stationery stores, with a token teetering pile of best-sellers, and Flipkart and Amazon are selling books at heavy discounts online, it’s very happiness-inducing to walk into a book store with wooden flooring and wooden shelves. Naidu hopes that the shop will sustain itself not just through sales, but also events—they hope to give out the space at 15,000 for 3 hours. The duo is keen to have book club meets, launches and author meets, among other things.

In the meantime, as they update the membership fees for their library, let’s hope the idea of quiet reading time comes back in fashion in fast-paced Mumbai, because Trilogy is quite the place for it.

Trilogy, First floor, Building No.28, Raghuvanshi Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Library membership ranges from 5,000-10,000

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Published: 07 Feb 2015, 01:04 AM IST
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