BIBLIOSMIA

If there was an era I would go back to, it would definitely be the 90s. The music, the dorky yet doable dance moves, saying thinks like ‘Schwinn’, blindingly bold fabrics that were in vogue and the best of all, everything- I mean everything- was simpler!

But what I miss the most are the circulating libraries. Crudely setup in a garage of a big house in almost every residential area (in what was then called Bangalore and Mysore), circulating libraries were an evening tradition and a trend for bookworms of the days.  Before there were library chains, dirt cheap e-books, people sought satisfaction running their hands through used books, inhaling that smell and rummaging through pages hunting for notes left behind by another reader. I did too.

I discovered a similar library when I moved to Bengaluru around a year ago. Sadly, they are pulling the shutters on this one. But the proprietor of this library will leave behind an inspiring story and several memories for many millennials.

Shanthi Sreenivasan, who has been running the library since 1991, is one of the very few people who puts money after passion.

The first day I met her, she was sitting beside a young girl who manages the lists and finances of this tiny garage library, discussing books. She smiled for a second and I couldn’t help feel warm and fuzzy inside, it was such a genuine smile!

 

Her passion for books and literature is reciprocated in the way she runs her library. Nestled in the suburban area of Banashankari, the library had about 7 shelves,  a table with magazines spread out and another desk for the librarian and was open from 5-8 every day except Wednesdays and the monthly charge was Rs 140 to borrow one book at a time. There are no signs outside and you will know it’s called Comfort Circulating Library only when you borrow a book and spot a sticker printed using an old-fashioned dot-matrix printer. Yet, there are over 2500 members from across South Bengaluru who know this library’s name.

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Shanthi has on display books from her college days and has invested a lot of time and money to keep the readers excited on every trip. Agatha Christies printed in the 50s, comics from the 90s, PG Wodehouse over twenty years old enveloped in layers of dust is inviting here!  Shanthi herself is a voracious reader and says she has slowed down a little after she got her reading glasses. But that did not stop her from sharing her love for books.

Such inspiration, right?

All the books were on sale in its last month of operation and let me share with you the joys I bought!

 

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Naveen will be remembered! And that is how you make your mark. 
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Published in 1975!
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This book travelled all the way from Vellore! See the Tamil stamps? What a journey!
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Oh well! 
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Comics from the 90s. These will be treasured! 
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With 20 years of plastic on it, phew! 

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I also got a stack of Archies and what better way to enjoy it than with a cup of masala chai and homemade cookies!

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Chunky Mexican hot chocolate swirl cookies and masala chai is a great pairing, who would’ve thunk! And how fitting is it that Mr Weatherbee takes Jughead out to savour fine dining while I savoured the smell of old books and cardamom!

  • 384 gms all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 113 gms butter (1 stick)
  • 220 gms sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp spice mix (scroll down for recipe)
  • 60 gms Dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

To make the masala spice, process 2-inch stick of cinnamon, about 1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg and 5-6 peppercorns in a spice grinder.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder and set aside.

Cream room temperature butter and sugar till pale yellow in colour, about 5 minutes if using a hand blender. Add the egg, continue to beat the mixture. Add vanilla and the flour mixture in three parts. Beat till it all comes together, remove the blender attachments and form a ball using your hands. Weigh out two equally sized balls. In one, add the Mexican spice mixture and to the other add chocolate. Form a uniform cookie dough mixture, wrap and chill for about 3-4 hours.

Roll out the two dough balls separately and spread them out on parchment paper. Chill for another half hour.

Once firm, place one sheet on top of the other, chocolate down, if you want the edge to be brown. Cut the edges to give your cookie the perfect swirl shape. Once the dough is pliable, roll the dough like you would a swiss roll cake with the icing inside. Wrap with cling film and continue to chill for another hour or so. Make sure you rotate it in intervals to ensure its shape.

Once the dough is pliable, roll the dough like you would a swiss roll cake with the icing inside. Wrap with cling film and continue to chill for another hour or so. Make sure you rotate it in intervals to ensure its shape. When

When thoroughly chilled, cut it into discs with a sharp knife, carefully,  and bake it on a parchment lined cookie tray at 180C for 12-13 minutes.

Use ganache if making cookie sandwiches.

Recipe courtesy, the fabulous Heather from sprinklebakes.

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