Pandemic claims Hyderabad’s beloved bookstore

Walden had only its Gachibowli and Banjara Hills branches after its Somajiguda outlet was shut in July 2019.   | Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetti

Walden, one of Hyderabad’s most loved bookshops, is no more. After a successful run of 11,083 days, or 30 years, four months and three days, the store’s glass door enamelled with ‘WALDEN’ was pulled shut on the last day of October in Banjara Hills.

“The competition from online retailers was hurting but the COVID-19 lockdown had a big impact on our business. How can we run a business without being physically present?” said Shobha Prasad, who started the shop along with her husband Ram Prasad, more than 30 years ago in Somajiguda on June 28, 1990.

The Somajiguda outlet was closed in July 2019 and the bookshop was functioning from its Gachibowli and Banjara Hills branches.

Ram Prasad took to social media to announce the news about closure of the Banjara Hills store: “Yesterday.. with a heavy heart, we closed the last Walden Store… Thank you book lovers for all the love and support, since 1990! Keep reading, keep growing! To paraphrase the last words of Gone With The Wind By Margaret Mitchell “...Tomorrow is another day (sic).”

There was an immediate outpouring of love and reminiscences about the book store by citizens. “Will never forget buying Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from Walden in breathless anticipation and devouring it in one day. Your shop was the focal point of a lot of my childhood memories in Hyderabad and its closure makes me deeply sad,” wrote a social media user summing up the experience of a few generations.

Named after the American philosopher H.D. Thoreau’s work ‘Walden’, the bookstore became a landmark and a benchmark for how books were sold and bought in Hyderabad in the 90s. The bookstore had a greeting cards section and music section beside the stationery one. The festive season between Deepavali and New Year could see the shop draped in fairy lights, Christmas trees and higher decibel levels in the toys section. But this year, there will be an eerie silence.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 12:09:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/pandemic-claims-hyderabads-beloved-bookstore/article33006000.ece

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