We kept hearing about this amazing Art Book Store from lots of professor and student types in Ahmedabad, but we didn’t visit until our time was quickly coming to an end. You know the frantic plans of “we might not ever have a chance to see this place” and lists with things to check off. Partly, it was my thought of “where could he possibly find more room for another book?” ….but he always proves me wrong with “I will just buy another book case, A-N-N-E!
The above sign points you in the right direction through the windy narrow neighbor streets to a treasure trove of rare Indian art, architecture and special editions. The shop’s brightly colored exterior announces you are finally in the right place.
There are beautiful paper and decorated envelopes for which Ahmedabad is renowned.
Manharbhai’s story is one of vision, faith,perseverance and hard work. Born over 70 years ago into a very poor family of six children, he had to forgo his dream of higher education despite his passion for learning. He finished his typing English course work to go on to accept a typist job to support his family. He eventually joined a shop that specialized in out of print and rare books. He learned the trade quickly and after saving and discipline, started his own shop in 1970. He bought the first floor of the house where he lived as a boy and converted it into a small two-room bookshop. As the years passed, it began to fill it with stacks of remarkable collections of Indian architecture, art, miniature paintings , classical music, dance, and textile design (another specialty of Ahmedabad.) This dear man maintained a full time job to feed his family for 40 years and opened his little dream shop in the evenings. Now retired, he spends his entire day in the shop. If there is a title you can not find there, he will work to obtain it for you . He takes credit cards, mails books to wherever you want to send them….and they arrive. Customer service is very important. He has email and takes orders over the phone. Be ready to browse, ask questions ,and spend as this little shop is filled with temptations.
Manharbhai and his son, Ketan now are working together as Dad is passing along this years of knowledge. He told me that his beloved wife and mother of his children “was gone.” His favorite place to be is surrounded by his books….. as he waits to be with her again! From 101 ways to Experience Ahmedabad
Phone: 079 26582130 http://www.artbookcenter.net
Namaste. . . . .This Is Ahmedabad