A Library Addict

Right from my school days, I had a special fascination for libraries, and their books, magazines and periodicals.

The reason was obviouy, the options were wide open. Cost was another factor, and the third and most important factor was the compulsion to read within the given time limit, as books had to be returned to the librarians after a week or two.

This passion continued even when I went to college, university and the different places where I was posted during my employment. Queen’s College in Varanasi had a limited number of books, but when I joined Banaras Hindu University (BHU), I got everything I wanted.

I resolved not to buy a single book for my BSc (Hons) course. Geology books were expensive, as most of them were written by foreign authors. So instead of restricting myself to select books, I decided to borrow books from libraries.

While my Geology department also had a library that I used, the main attraction was the Central Library of BHU which had lakhs of books including rare ones, related to every subject on earth.

The library used to issue four books at a time for two weeks. I would skim through those books and make notes, because I wanted to read some other books after returning them. My library cards used to be my valuable credit and debit cards back then.

But there was another attraction. The smell of books! Old books had a particular smell, while new books had a completely different smell. There was nothing more enjoyable than digging through that library, because we didn’t have the luxury of Google Baba.

During my free time, I used to go to the reading section to read journals, magazines etc. There were other bookworms like me, but most of them were research scholars pursuing M.Phil or PhD. However, I did find some dear friends there.

Nearby there was a grand temple of Lord Shiva. I used to go there not only to pray, but also to have some peace of mind for a while. The nearby restaurant was also helpful in keeping the spirit alive. My stay at BHU was truly the life changing time.

I didn’t get the same opportunity to study anywhere else, but I tried my level best to find some libraries in adjoining areas. In Delhi, I was using the Central Secretariat library, apart from Ramakrishna Mission Library and one NDMC library located in my area.

In Bhopal, I couldn’t find any, but a few paid libraries were there, mostly for magazines and periodicals. In Mumbai, Pune and other places, I had my bank’s library apart from some paid libraries nearby.

When I was asked to set up a new department of Risk Management in my bank, I did not have any book available in the library for reference. All the books on this subject were new and written by foreign authors.

That was the time when I went on buying spree, spending thousands of rupees to acquire knowledge and books for the bank’s library. Books always cost less than what we get from them. I am glad that I could enrich it to some extent.

Someone had said that paradise could also be a kind of a library. It’s my humble attempt to create a little piece of that paradise by having my own library at home. There are some books that I like to read again and again to feel the touch of the divine.

–Kaushal Kishore



  1. Thank you so very much for sharing your love for libraries! My grandfather left me his library, but it was stolen. Breaks my heart even 45 years later. My Mom and sister were/are librarians. To walk into a
    library and sniff a book is a treasured act. Sometimes, I used to pick out books because of their smell! They were like gems to me. Thank you for taking me back to a taking me back to a treasured time!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The whole library was stolen! So sad, it’s a treasure trove of knowledge. But sniffing books is so relatable. I can understand your feelings. Thank you, Susan, for sharing your wonderful experiences!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. मोहे ब्रज बिसरत नाही, 😇😇 BHU के वो दिन, सर जी sayaji rao gaekwad central library हम इसे c.l कहते थे , इसमें एक text book section भी था जहाँ से किताब ले कर पढ कर जमा की जा सकती थी, DEPARTMENT वाली LIBRERY से दो किताब मिलती थी , CL से 4 , TEXT BOOK SECTION से किताब ले कर LIBRARY में बैठ कर पढिए, और बीच बीच में बिहारी जी का समोसा खा कर चाय । 😋🙂🙂 ज्यादा बोर हुए तो एक चक्कर मंदिर का मार कर वापस LIBREARY. जीवन भर BHU के दिन नहीं भूल सकता ।🤓🤓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. वाह वाह, नितिन जी, आपने तो यादों को और ताजा कर दिया। समय ही समय था सबेरे सात बजे से शाम सात बजे तक। वे दिन कभी विस्मृत नहीं होंगे। आते जाते मानस मंदिर और संकट मोचन के साथ वूमेंस कॉलेज का दर्शन कभी भूलेगा क्या? 😊🤗😂


  3. Thank you, Kaushal, for writing the post about books which as you know are
    my passionate love. The onus of this wonderful post is your statement:
    ” Books always cost less than what we get from them.”
    When you wrote that reading makes you to feel the touch of the divine,
    you covered the profound truth; we travel to every corner of the world and universe, to the bottom of the ocean, climb the Himalayans with the writer
    and see things not seen with the naked eye, and more.
    The ancient sage wisely wrote:
    “When you have a garden and the library, you have everything.” It means living in paradise.
    Mentioning the intoxicating smell of the new books, Kaushal, is another of your pearls of wisdom as the pleasure is greater than smelling of flowers.
    I acquired well over 10,000 books library and my house is filled with them. Beautifully arranged, they make the best decoration of each room.
    This is nothing compared with Sir David Attenborough’s library of well over 40,000 books.
    When he was asked if he reads them all, he said yes, and if he needs to refresh his knowledge, he knows that he has them there.
    The pictures you included, Kaushal, are beyond perfect – the head full of books, and the house built of books! The universities are beautiful buildings that add to the learning.
    I liked the mention of Lord Shiva’s temple because one of my blogging friends is a devotee of Lord Shiva and his poems to him are profoundly moving.
    Thank you again, Kaushal, for the wonderful post!


    Liked by 4 people

    1. While writing this story, I was thinking of you, Joanna, assuring myself that you would like it. I know how passionate you are about your books and garden, that I always appreciate.

      The house built of books, a picture of which I have shared, was actually displayed in a book exhibition at Mumbai. I liked their creativity. As regards Lord Shiva’s temple, we used to go there daily. I know the blogging friend you are talking about. I follow him. His poems are moving and devoted to Shiva. Thank you, Joanna, for sharing your beautiful reflections, as always!


  4. This post means a lot to me. My son David is a librarian in our local pubic library. He enjoys his work but most of all loves being around books and helping people find just the right one to read for their particular needs. Every week he brings a new book home to read at bedtime with Colette; that is their special time. When my sons were little I would take them to the library – the same library were David now works – and I would find a quiet spot in the corner to read to them. I am the type who gives every character their own distinctive voice and it wasn’t long before I started attracting a little group of kids who wanted to hear me read. One thing let to another and I was asked if I would consider reading short books once each week in the children’s room of the library. I immediately said yes, thinking it would last perhaps 6 months or a year. My volunteer stint in the library lasted 8 years, 3 days a week, and I loved every day I was there. Books are beautiful things meant to be cherished. Thank you for sharking your post, KK, and for allowing me to share my story with you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And your thoughtful comment means a lot to me. I was not aware that you and your family were so attached with library. Your volunteer stint in the library that you enjoyed, is really appreciable. Thank you so much, Nancy, for sharing your wonderful experience that in fact is value addition to readers.


    1. Wow! So pleased to know about you, Pat! I always held my librarians in high esteem, some of them were so helpful in retrieving the books I wanted. It was a great help, as the system was manual and we used to refer to catalogues alphabetically. Thank you, Pat for your kind comment that really made me happy 😊🤗🤗

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m pleased that you like librarians. I must admit that some are better then others; people are surprised that in a master’s degree is normally a prerequisite. You mean, you need a masters to sit there and read books? Yes, but somebody had to select that book, catalog that book, and now nowadays had to create a meta record for that book so that is could be found and checked out by users like the one that asked the question. Someone also has to track the budget and manpower so that there are librarians to help you and resources for them to use to help you. (Not that you asked for all of the background…) Good man, Kaushal.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. You’re so well-versed in this area that even the minute details are on fingertips. I agree with you, Pat that it’s a specialised job, not so easy. I had seen many researchers used to spend days and months in the library to collect necessary information and secondary data for their project work. Thank you , Pat for taking pains to give details. I feel honoured to connect with you.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Ah wonderful post, dear KK!!! Thank you for letting us get to know this part of you. I love how you describe all the wonders of books and how they fascinate you in such detail, I can feel all the sensations you describe! And your own personal story behind it is such a treat to read as always 🤍🤗🤍🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Grace! It’s a long journey from school to college, University and jobs, but the common thing was library. I’m delighted to know that you liked the journey and its thrills. Your thoughtful words are greatly appreciated 😊🤗💖

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the scent of books! Of the old ones, but also of the new ones, fresh off the press. I remember that when my sons were little, the opening of each envelope containing a new book was a ceremony in which we took turns to smell its perfume

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow! What a lovely experience, Luisa! I’m happy that I’m not alone, who likes the smell of books, both old and new ones. Thank you so much for your kind comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I spent my first year (2019-20) of BA here. Rest of the two years (2020-21 & 2021-22) passed im COVID-19. This is my first year of PG (2022-23). And 2nd winter in Varanasi.

    This time I’m able to cope up in a better way. Still I’m trying and learning new routines, new foods and most important, new mindset.

    I’ll keep you updated.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. KK, I share your love and nostalgia for libraries and books. When my oldest daughter was young, I picked up paperback classics at yard sales and second-hand bookstores and filled a tall bookcase.

    I was working long hours and going to night school, so I was not always around. One day, my daughter, who was about twelve or thirteen at the time, said she was bored. I recommended a few books from our little library. It turned out that, all on her own, she had read all of the books in the bookcase! That made me very happy! 🙂


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Cheryl for sharing your happy experience. It’s nice to hear that your daughter liked classics chosen by you. During my younger days, I used to find some colleagues addicted to Mills and Boon books, and I always wondered why.😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, Kk apart from books I have hundreds of issues of Humdard Naunehal I grown up reading. Those issues are enough to make a hut as in one of your photos.
        Good books are like a reflection of blessings specific to heaven only 😍

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Interesting! Humdard Naunehal is the gripe syrup we have grown with. I’m not aware of such a magazine, but you are right, good books are heavenly reflections. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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