Thirty-eight-year old Krishna Yadav’s work “day” as a night librarian starts every night with dinner being delivered to his workplace, sponsored by his employers. The private library, located in Malad, is open for all 24 hours and provides space for students to study undisturbed.
Once a student enters the library after 8 pm, they are allowed to go out either at midnight, or at the wee hours of 2:30 am, or at 5:30 am. And Yadav’s primary duty is to guard all the students who come at night to study and also provide them logistical assistance, if required.
“Usually, no one comes in after midnight. On typical days, I stay awake till midnight, but later I take a nap in the hall unless someone comes in. But that is rare,” said a smiling Yadav. He is provided with bedding, further down the hall, in the library. A Class 12 pass-out, Yadav knows to read and write English and is often intrigued by the kind of books the students bring with them to study.
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“Where education is, that is where everything is. I feel satisfied at the end of the day. Parents trust me and leave their children with me. I understand that the reason I am here is because I want my children to be educated,” said Yadav, who hails from a village near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.
He shifted to Mumbai four years ago, looking for better job prospects. He does not mince words when he says he left his previous job because of the pay. “Here people read and I get to take a nap. For poor people like me, pay is the most important thing,” said Yadav, who was previously employed as a security guard.
Yadav spends his mornings running errands for the library owner. Otherwise, he prefers to rest. Ask him what is the most challenging thing about his shift, he said, “Absolutely nothing.”