As we cautiously emerged into the post circuit-breaker phase of life with Covid-19, my husband rushed to the gym and daughters planned outings with four of their closest friends. I went for a long-pending haircut and a much-needed massage, hoping these activities would help me look and feel better. But something was amiss. Life still didn't feel normal. Until the public libraries reopened on July 1.
I didn't have access to libraries while growing up in Mumbai. My school had a sparse, highly curated collection incapable of supplying the number or variety of books to cater to my voracious appetite. But reading materials were always within reach: daily newspapers, monthly editions of Reader's Digest and a random selection of magazines, some new, some dated, some left behind by visitors. I bartered books with friends. Occasionally I spent my pocket money on yellow, tattered copies of books sold in heaps on footpaths.