A new chapter

With the bookstore Chapter and Verse turning 17 this year,the owner Manjari Gordhandas speaks about the history of the store and some of the rare books it houses

Written by Debjani Paul | Published: July 2, 2012 3:46 am

With the bookstore Chapter and Verse turning 17 this year,the owner Manjari Gordhandas speaks about the history of the store and some of the rare books it houses

When Chapter and Verse,a bookstore nestled in Dhole Patil Road,was opened in the year 1995,there was a departmental store in the same building. People who stopped at the departmental store,would often chance upon Chapter and Verse. Those people,says the owner of the bookstore,Manjari Gordhandas,have become the regulars and visit the store even today.

Soon to enter its 17th year,Chapter and Verse is patronized by a niche section of society. With an old world charm to it,the book store has a look that resembles a library than a shop. The store houses most new releases and popular books,and also specializes in philosophy,management and some rare books. If you are looking for rare and old books in the city,chances are that you’ll end up finding it at Chapter and Verse,which has a separate catalogue for such treasures.

Gordhandas herself has very little interest in reading books. However she is running the store primarily because of her deep love and commitment for her late husband Arvind Gordhandas,who once owned the treasure of books that are now seen on the racks of the bookstore. Sharing the story behind Chapter and Verse,she says,“We used to live in Bombay earlier and my husband owned hundreds of books. When we moved to Pune,we brought lorries full of books with us. Since we couldn’t come up with any other way to put them into use,we decided to open a book store.”

Some of the books in the store date as far back as 1911,such as ‘The Quest of The Absolute’ by George Saintsbury and ‘The Plays of John Galsworthy’,which is dated 1929. One of the most interesting finds in the store is perhaps the book ‘In Napoleonic Days’ which was published in 1941. Translated by Princess Beatrice,the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria,the book contains notes from Queen Victoria’s grandmother’s personal diary and this particular copy has been autographed by Princess Beatrice herself. Another treasure in the store is a vintage copy of the works of J V Stalin – between 1901 to 1907.

Gordhandas feels that taking care of books is much more difficult than maintaining jewellery. However,she adds that since the year 2000,when her husband passed away,she has learnt everything about books and how to care for them. “I spray a special mixture of an insecticide in the store periodically and place little packets with termite repellents in all the rare books. I also get the old books bound to increase their life,” explains this 77-year-old.

To celebrate the 17th anniversary of the store,Chapter and Verse will host an exhibition of its books from July 6 to 9,where readers can also buy any book at half the price. “Though 17 years is a long time to be running this shop; I am really happy here,knowing that this way,my husband’s name and passion lives on. I hope other people will also come and experience the same love he had for reading,” concludes Gordhandas.

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