National College Grounds: It is said diamonds are women’s best friend and dog is man’s best friend while books are everyone’s best friend. In the recent past, many bookstores went out of business as the new generation shifted to e-books. The statistics are worse when it comes to books in regional languages.
Srushti Ventures VPCSK, a Bangalore- based NGO organises Pustaka Parishe every year to encourage people to read books. This year’s was the eighth Pustaka Parishe, between January 9 and 11, the best so far. Nagaraj Navunda, secretary- Srushti Ventures, says, “It’s not a once- a year thing. We collect and donate books all 365 days. This is an initiative to create awareness among the people about reading books.”
The book exhibition was held on the National College grounds where different stalls and a performance stage were put up. On either corner there were stalls put up by publishers, most of them in Kannada. Other than bookstalls there were foodstalls and some commercial outlets. Prakash of Vamshi Publications said, “We got a call from the NGO to put up a stall for free and this is the second time we have come here. The turnout is good and the sales are quite encouraging.” The visitors comprised people of all age groups.
At the far end there were tables stacked with books which one could pick up for free. There were all kind of story books, novels, books on general knowledge, academic books and much more. Vandana N, a pre-medical student, said,” I got to know about this event from the newspaper and it said all kind of books would be available. I picked up a book related to my subject though I wish I could take more than one.” Many people picked up more than one book but then they had to return the extra books at the check- out point where everyone who had taken a book had to write their name and telephone number. The volunteer at check- out point, Hemlata, could not say how many people exactly took the advantage of this opportunity but she did show the filled up register pages.
Just behind the free- books counter a tent had been put up for donated books where volunteers such as Pavan Kumar, student of APS College were busy stacking the books properly to send them out. There were volunteers from different colleges enthusiastically helping in the smooth functioning of the event. One can donate any type of book to Srushti Ventures on any day of the year and expect someone needy to get it for free.