If you are a book lover, I am sure a book store will definitely be in your list of favourite hangouts. I, for one, absolutely love being in a book store. None of my outings are ever complete without a visit to a bookstore. Even for long holidays, I somehow always find my way to local, independent bookshops. I have always had a soft corner for independent bookshops, mostly because they reflect the taste of the owner. I have come across some of the best book recommendation at such places, unlike the large ones. So you can imagine my happiness when I discovered Quill and Canvas, right next door to where I work.
They say first impressions are the lasting ones, so the name really caught my attention. It has a certain old world charm to it and is quite poetic in itself. Aah! A book shop with a beautiful name.
Tucked away in one corner of a mall full of Salons and Pubs, Quill and Canvas turned out to be a haven of beauty, quite literally, because it happens to be not only a Bookshop but an Art Gallery as well. Done up tastefully, with beautiful art work by eminent artists displayed on its walls, this is a place where you would love to walk around leisurely, browse through an excellent collection of books and experience some beautiful Art.
What sets it apart from other book stores is that the owner, Shobha Sengupta, is herself a book lover and art enthusiast. She is extremely affable and forthcoming with book recommendations and book related discussions. She was the one who introduced me to Murakami. And more recently when I visited the store I came back with Conn Iggulden. There is also a beautiful sitting area at the back of the shop surrounded by wonderful paintings, that’s where you are most likely to find Shobha sitting and reading a book.
She tells me all the beautiful art work around exudes a lot of positive energy and I can’t help agree. I remember asking her why a bookshop? Does it make business sense? She tells me it’s not business. A literature student, journalist and publisher previously, she says this is all she knows. She started Quill and Canvas in 2002 from a 760 square feet shop in the Galleria Market in Gurgaon, before shifting to this bigger space in 2013. She reminisces how, when she was new in the book business, she would sit with her customers and make lists of the kind of books that she should house. So does she house bestsellers? Only if she likes them she tells me, badly edited books would never make it to her store, one of the reasons she has now started editing services for authors.
What about a café in the bookshop to drive more people in? There’s coffee available if someone wants to sit and read a book she tells me, but a café would spoil the peace and beauty with the constant chatter.
And just when I thought I had seen enough, came my Open Sesame moment as she pushed the walls [yes literally] to reveal several hidden panels with gorgeous paintings. I am going back there soon to educate myself on Art and get a tarot reading done. Oh yes, Shobha is a tarot reader too.
Quill and Canvas is located in the South Point Mall on the Golf Course Road in DLF Phase V, Gurgaon