I am not fond of the word ‘Ma’ and I don’t get close to any elders or my friend’s mom, so I don’t use that term a lot. Unknowingly, the first word I uttered when I met Nalini Chettur was ‘Ma’ and she scooped my heart in a jiffy. I spent two solid hours with her, talking about the bookstore, the Indian publishing industry, her experience with books, and my experience with publishing, and to the recent issue of a girl wearing a knee length dress but commented by the auto driver at Bangalore.
She is versatile, intense, scintillating, high-spirited, determined and passionate. I can just go on and on!
“Why Taj did this?” I frowned. “Because they are TAAAJJJJ,” she said and laughed. “But, yes, they have been kind so far. “They don’t charge me a lot. There was a family that flew down from Singapore just to visit my store and take some books. There are many who mention the book store at the feedback forms at the Taj.”
She knows a lot about books. She is keen not to stock her store with best sellers but to stash exotic and one of a kind books. The minute you start talking, she can analyze you and say what type of books you need.
“This bookstore is my oxygen,” she added. “I always suggest books to my people. I know them for years, and I love interacting with young people like you. I believe that my store will live with the kind of individuals who visit,” she smiled.
There are authors she knows; there are authors whom she introduced to Madras. She looks like a Living book encyclopedia. Give her the title or author name or publisher name – you will get the story from her! Such intense person who dedicated her life on books is indeed an inspiration.
“I need a list of books, here it is,” I handed over. “Just read once, I store it in my mind!” she said and indeed she does.
Giggles Book Store:
• Smallest bookshop in Chennai rightly named as the Biggest Little Bookshop
• Location: Taj Connemara Hotel, next to Spencer Plaza – Near the car parking, as small as just 150 sq feet where books are stashed, and you can see Nalini Chettur sitting in a chair welcoming you with a smile. She is running this store for the past 41 years.
• Issue: Taj wants to expand or whatever, and wants Nalini Chettur to vacate the place ASAP
What we need:
• A store in and around Spencer Plaza
• Rent of 10,000 INR
• Required in 2 weeks time
Help yourself! Visit her – talk to her and walk home with a heavy bag full of books and face shimmering with a smile!
If you’re not in Chennai, ping me with a book request, I will get you the same with her autograph and courier it to you. You can transfer the amount to my account.
If you’re in Chennai, JUST VISIT HER! No excuses.