If there is one thing I would love to have in every street, it would be a thrift store. One that houses books on high attics where you can go treasure hunting literally on the rustic ladder.
You know those thrift shops that have a bell by the door whose dong magically transports you into another world full of charm, elves and stardust? The way it welcomes you everytime you open the door and you feel like you came home? To a place where you belong?
The moment you enter, you know that this is exactly the kind of place you have always wanted to go. The tall wooden ladder with the formidable nail (that the lady behind the counter warns you to be wary of) stands at the corner. The minute you spot it, you feel elated! This can mean only one thing – there is an attic! – full of treasures and you secretly pray for more books.
The teeny and mundane ritual of setting your office bag and folders aside and rolling up your sleeves becomes laden with excitement and you savour each moment and hurry up. You just have this huuuuge world opening up its arms and you only need to dive right in. Even though there is a lot to be explored along the shelves, you run to the ladder lest you miss it, feeling kiddish, selfish and secretly enjoying it. It reminds you of how you have always wanted the solitary swing in pre-school that many used to line up for and the minute you got it, you just wanted to kick turn-taking off into the air and keep the swing all to yourself. Seriously, who doesn’t want a ladder and an attic and that too in a thrift store?
For once, cobwebs seem inviting and full of happy mystery. You tie your hair into a bun and act like you are on a mission. You soak in every second of pleasure as you explore the attic and dig out books that look dusty and have the much loved silverfish (the best friends of bookworms) and manage to occassionally bump into a familiar title you have read in someone’s blog. The aroma of the attic that has nothing but books and knick knacks that are rustic and charming, is overpowering you. You just wish that time halts right then and you can stay this way forever, your nose buried in the attic amidst red hardbound books with golden letters carved on them, pages turned yellow making the yesteryear fonts look classier.
And all this while, you are high on adrenalin for you still have the shelves at the ground level to explore not to forget that little china you have been eyeing greedily. After what seems like 2 minutes (the clock says otherwise), you come down gingerly balancing your books and the friendly lady with the coolest pair of glasses comes to help you out. You cannot help but admire the bracelet she is wearing. It reminds you of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro and you just feel so happy thinking of history classes.
You place the books by her cluttered counter and say that you would like to explore more. You indulge in reading the synopsis of every story, the preface of every book and try to recollect if someone had recommended this to you. You turn to the first page where the price is marked and realize that the book is just 2 dollars. You count the notes of money in your purse, get inspired and pile on more. After a while when you have exhausted the budget, you take out your coin pouch and count them till the last cent. You feel thankful that you can add 2 more books to the pile. Just when you are about to rest the pile by the counter, you find that one book you have always wanted to read. You are torn between what to choose. And then it dawns upon you – the secret zip! Yes, your bag has a secret money compartment with 10 whole dollars. That means 5 more books. You go back and do the needful.
And then, you pamper yourself by looking at all the china, feeling sad for the missing pieces of a tea-set, the little clocks, old preserved feathers, wedding favours and what not!
After a long long while that seems to have flown past in a jiffy, you precariously balance the pile to the counter. The lady cannot stop smiling. You are one of her top customers. She gives away a book for free, even! You proudly carry the heavy pounds and walk back to the bus-stop, unable to decide what to read and hoping against hope that you don’t end up piling them.
What is it about thrift shops that make me fall in love again and again? For the life of me, I cannot choose.