If you stay in Delhi there is no way you can avoid the metro. Often referred to as the city’s lifeline, metro connects the length and the breadth of the city. If you have been on the metro then you might have also seen that, almost without an exception the commuters are glued to their smart phones. All heads are dropped as their gaze is fixed on their phone. The scenario is sad but true. But while we lament over it, there is a couple who is attempting to change it. Delhi-based couple Shruti Sharma and Tarun Chauhan have started an initiative known as the Books on the Delhi Metro.
Much like its name, this non-profit making venture attempts to bring back the good old habit of reading among people. In order to do that, both Sharma and Chauhan, a content developer and a civil engineer respectively, leave books on the metro for travellers to pick up and read. With a tagline, “Take it, Read it. Return it to someone else to enjoy it,” their initiative is akin to a mobile library.
Speaking to indianexpress.com Sharma said that the idea to do this came to her when she read Emma Watson doing something similar. Last year the UN Goodwill ambassador had collaborated with Books on the Undergound, and hidden copies of her most cherished book across various stations of the London Underground. The Harry Potter star had left around 100 copies of Maya Angelou’s ‘Mom & Me & Mom’. Taking cue from that, Sharma contacted Books On the Move Global, and got permission to do the same in Delhi.
Sharma and Chauhan started their initiative in May and so far have dropped three books. However it is only recently that one of them got picked, which inadvertently means that the first two books are lost. The process is simple. “You pick up the book, and then post it on social media tagging Books on the Delhi Metro. I get a notification and repost it,” Sharma says. You can identify these books from the sticker on the covers as Sharma tries to provide clues on Instagram.
The books are from her own personal collection and when asked if it hurts that she lost two of her books already, Sharma is quick to agree but says it does not matter in the larger picture. “Yes I do feel bad but I do not worry about books getting lost,” she says. And hastens to add that though she was apprehensive earlier she knew she “had to do it”.
While her husband commutes via blue and yellow line, Sharma takes the blue line and for now books are hidden in metro stations that fall on these lines. But she intends to cover all the stations. “Eventually we will cover all the lines,” she adds rather optimistically.
The book that got picked up is Cecelia Ahern’s The Year I Met You, and Sharma’s joy knew no bounds to know that her book “found a home”.