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The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance
by Niranjan Navalgund (Book Preview) | Published On:

Nayan woke up, startled, as the lone owl screeched, slicing his night dream into shards. The dream had started manifesting itself shortly after his dad’s demise. He was 42, his brain stuffed with chess positions, his salt and pepper hair exuding an intellectual air. In spite of the plain clothes he wore, there was something unique about him. He had always enjoyed working as an arbiter in the tournaments; but of late, the circumstances of his life forced him to look after the library. The spectacles he wore contained half-moon glasses shaped like Albus Dumbledore’s from the Harry Potter series.

Many moons ago, when his father breathed his last, he somehow managed to convey his last words to his son. The words that he spoke and those that remained unuttered continued to haunt Nayan in his dreams, long after his father’s death. “Take care of my world, Nayan. There is something I never told you about the li..ib..libr . . .” the incomplete sentence was a burden on his soul, echoing in his sleep every single day. They hurt like a fresh wound that hadn’t been properly clotted. Even the slightest memory of the day seared his flesh with pain. 

The library had remained closed for quite some time, owing to the illness of Nayan’s dad. The responsibility of managing his father’s library had fallen on Nayan’s hesitant shoulders.

Nayan hated the books and the library for a reason. While he was growing up, his father spent most of his time in the library and never managed to accompany him to his chess events. Torn between an indifference to the world of books and his allegiance to his father, Nayan had finally made peace with his role as the librarian. 

According to his will, Nayan’s father wished to reopen the library on April 23. Honouring his father’s last wishes and the contents of the will, Nayan announced the reopening of the library in the press in a grand way and made other necessary arrangements. He personally went to the schools and colleges in and around the city to invite book lovers. He even made a few labourers paint the exteriors of the library in different delightful colours. Some colourful books, bookmark doodles and stars were drawn on the walls too. 

On the day of reopening, Nayan made sure he carried a flask of tea, a radio set, a bouquet of flowers and his personal diary to the library. The huge number of book lovers present for the ribbon cutting ceremony thrilled him. As they entered inside the library, following the curved entrance that led to the foyer, the visitors were intrigued by an aura of mystery and delight. On the left, there was a shoe rack for those who wished to remove their shoes and read in comfort. To the right was a huge, long panel of hooks affixed to the wall to help people hang their carry bags, jackets, and other items.

He called a few kids to join him. Their innocent, inquisitive expressions filled him with pristine pleasure. The children transformed him that day. With a sense of pride, he exhibited the OPEN sign and proceeded towards the glass door. 

“I am truly humbled by your presence. Thank you, friends, for coming. I may not be as knowledgeable as my dad was, when it comes to books, but I will certainly try to accompany you all in your journey with the books, with the limited capacities that I have.” He said, as he escorted everybody inside the library. 

The Lively Library was a sight to behold. Stretching out till the end, it exuded symmetry and beauty in its innovative, eye-catching design. Nayan placed the bouquet on the stand before his dad’s photo and lit the incense sticks, and closed his eyes in prayer. 

A few minutes later, he addressed the curious audience. 

“Hello everybody, today, as we gather in the library, I feel the urge to mention it’s inactive status for a few months, owing to my dad’s illness. He spent most of his time here, as a librarian. It was his last wish to reopen the library today, and I decided to honour it. I spent some time cleaning the shelves, as the books were untouched for a long time. As I worked on revamping the library, I made sure to add the latest books in the shelves for your reading pleasure. Follow me, friends, I will give you a quick tour.

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Niranjan Navalgund

Niranjan Navalgund

Written: 6 Stories

Member Since: 22-Jun-2016

Country: India

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