New Delhi: What is the best way to pass off time while waiting for your bus at a bus stop? We know you are thinking Tinder but let's try and be a little more erudite. How about stepping inside a library and skimming through the dozens of titles until your bus arrives?
This is exactly what 50-year-old Anoop Khanna from Guwahati thought when dozens of artists and writers reached Assam on January 28 to the attend the first ever literary festival held in the state.
"We live in an age where most of our time is utilized on phones and other gadgets. People have forgot about reading and books. We thought of a setting where people of every generation visit and usually have some time," Khanna, director of an outdoor advertising agency told ScoopWhoop News.
Khanna couldn't find a better spot than a bus stop. What he did was put up a board 'the world belongs to those who read' on the top-front of bus stop. To turn the reading experience at the bus stop into a familiar one, Khanna also put some shelves for books and multi-coloured lights.
"We kept around 200-250 books in the library. And most of them have been exchanged. There's has been an overwhelming response," Khanna, who stated that book stall will conclude on Wednesday, said.
Khanna said the idea flourished in the backdrop of Brahmaputra Literature Festival organised by the National Book Trust (NBT) and the Assam government.
While the literary festival witnessed 60 panel discussions, book releases, readings and cultural events, including film screenings based on books, Khanna was struck by the curiosity his bus stop-turned-book stall had evoked among old and young.
"In order to take a book from the library, a housewife submitted a recipe book which comes as a complimentary with a pressure cooker. We saw a child bring his zodiac sign book to the library. Also, an illiterate cobbler visited the library to encourage reading among his kids. He can't read but he loved books," he added.
16-year-old author Rishi Raj Sen, who also worked behind the idea, said the focus of the initiative was to promote reading and engagement.
"We were unsure whether the idea will work or not. But it clicked. There was no profit involved and anyone could read a book with paying a single penny. I saw people absorbed in reading at the bus stop," Sen, who's one of India's youngest novelists, told ScoopWhoop News.
Such has been the enthusiasm behind the initiative that very few have asked the question: is it legal to turn the bus stop into a library for five days?
"It was a small effort and we only used a part of the bus stop. Nobody raised any objection," Khanna said.