It was time when I visited libraries every day – they provided knowledge from the books that couldn’t be found elsewhere. Getting ready for my school and university classes, I used to spent long hours at the library. And those were enjoyable hours, I must say. I always liked the atmosphere of a library where people were not to be disturbed when immersing themselves into books. Would I do the same now, when with the advent of the internet all the information in the world is at one’s fingertips? Perhaps no. But if Kherson, my home town in Ukraine, had something like J N Petit Institute Library in Mumbai, I would make sure to visit it from time to time. Just for the sake of sheer aesthetics.
Looking at the splendid buildings in the historical center of Mumbai, I was wondering what they were like inside.The door of one of them was open invitingly, so I decided to walk in. I went up the stairs ….
and found myself in a reading hall.
What a surprise! Just before moving to India I fulfilled one of my dreams – to find out what it’s like to be a librarian. Well, not exactly what I expected, but it was a useful experience. So it was interesting for me to observe my Indian colleagues in J N Petit Institute Library getting ready for the working day (I came early in the morning). But more than that, it was fascinating to see the old fashioned furniture, which remained that since the time of the British Empire, stained glass, intricate windows, portraits on the walls, heavy fans…
Everything was saturated with the spirit of the old times. What was this library like in the earlier years? What sort of readers did it attract? Were there melancholic young ladies in searches of another novel of Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austin, Elisabeth Gaskell or George Elliot?
A nice bonus for me was to look out of the window and to see another typical bit of beautiful Mumbai 🙂
So, if you haven’t been to a library for quite a while, J N Petit Institute Library in Mumbai is definitely recommended, even if you have hundreds of books on your Kindle 🙂
Useful information :
J N Petit Institute Library address:
312, Dr. DN Road, Fort, Mumbai- 400001,
Phone number: (022) 22048463