Banquet Halls

Anusthan Bhavan

locationKolkata
3.5
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Old Tagore Song Books To Bible Comics, This Pavement Bookseller Has Them All

Anuradha posted on 22 November

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Nita Das handpicks the books he stocks, writes short poems and stories, and has autographed copies of Gunter Grass and Satyajit Ray’s works.

Between The Lines

On the last bit of the pavement close to Deshapriyo Park {in front of Anusthan Bhavan} sits the unassuming, soft-spoken Nitai Das. This 47-year-old has been writing stories and poems, and selling secondhand books and magazines for more than two decades.

Our Fave Finds

A quick browse through Nitai Das’s collection and you will know that most of the books have been carefully handpicked. We found a Dirk Gently book by Douglas Adams and the iconic 1976 novel by Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues — both for INR 80.

The best finds were The Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills {a former London bus driver} which was shortlisted for both the Whitbread and the Booker prizes. You won’t find this book in any book shop for sure. Read more about the book here.

Neither will you get Timothy Mo’s Sour Sweet anywhere. It’s a comedy that follows the tribulations of a Hong Kong Chinese immigrant and his initially reluctant wife as they attempt to make a home for themselves in 1960s London. It was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for 1982, and shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction. We picked up both for INR 80 each. We bargained like hell, of course!

Music To Our Ears

Another great find was this old editions of musical notes by Rabindranath Tagore of his songs. Nitai is selling them for INR 100 each only!

Between The 'Zines

Strung across the two trees flanking the stall are loads of magazines on films, fashion, decor and more. The ones that stood out are the Sunday magazines brought out by Bengali newspaper, Pratidin. Each one had a theme as displayed on the covers — we picked up one on Sukumar Ray’s illustrations for just INR 5!

Holy Moses, It's A Comic Book

This was another great find — comic books on stories from the Bible for INR 40.

An Accomplished Writer & Poet

Don’t just pick up books here. Sit down and have an adda with Nitai. He will ply you with milky cha in a clay cup from the nearby tea shack and discuss Bengal’s literature and films. He loves the written word and has autographs of several writers and literary figures like Gunter Grass.

When we came across Nitai, he was busy penning a poem on 100 years of the book, Devdas. “It has completed 100 years, you know,” he informed us. His poem was like a commemoration talking about the disdain critics and writers had shown towards the story when it was first published. “And now, it has completed a century and been published in so many languages!”

He has a collection of his poems and stories published in various newspapers and magazines in Kolkata. The Statesman has also done a profile on him.

So the next time you are in the area, drop in at his stall.

More Information

Banquet Halls

Anusthan Bhavan

    Location Details
    locationKolkata

    132, Rash Behari Avenue, Lake Market, Kalighat, Kolkata

    3.5
    ic_star_full_black_48px copy
    Banquet Halls

    Anusthan Bhavan

    locationKolkata