A library visit that brought on a twinge of sadness

Taped up sofas and deserted desks. The library, when it reopened after the circuit breaker, has lost its background buzz and become eerily silent

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.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2020, with the headline 'A library visit that brought on a twinge of sadness'. Subscribe