This Second-Hand Bookseller from Mumbai Doesn’t Want Financial Aid. He Just Wants You to Return His Books

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This Second-Hand Bookseller from Mumbai Doesn’t Want Financial Aid. He Just Wants You to Return His Books

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The joy of reading is one of the simplest yet most fulfilling pleasures available to us. And one man running a roadside book stall in Andheri, is happy that he gets to spread that very joy with his customers. IAS officer Awanish Sharan also shared the bookseller’s photograph and story on Twitter. Sharan wrote that Rakesh ran a stall where customers could rent books for just ₹10. The reason he charges such low rates is because he isn’t running his stall for profit. Rather, it’s a labour of love for the bookseller, since he loves books and sharing that passion is the reason he has the stall.

Rakesh and his book stall are a huge hit on social media. His novel initiative of lending books out at a low cost comes with only one condition: that readers promise to return them once they are finished with them. Last year, the bookseller told a visitor to his stall why he isn’t interested in turning a profit from his book stall. “People earn so they can spend on something they want and I am already surrounded by the one thing that I’ve always wanted,” he said.

As the lockdown hit Mumbai, Rakesh was offered financial aid from his many well-wishers and customers. However, the humble bookseller turned it down, saying, “I have food, I have my books. Thankfully, I have a roof over my head. This is enough for me. Instead of me, help those who are roaming in the streets without food and shelter. They need it more than I do.” His story has won over the hearts of those who heard it, with many commending his altruistic spirit on Twitter.

Even in a year as rotten as 2020, there are individuals like Rakesh who remind us that there is always a silver lining if you know where to look.

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