A magical world.

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.

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22 comments

  1. Visha · January 31, 2013

    Blossoms come close to this magical world , but its not a thrift store 😀

    Happy you found a Blossom-twin in SG 😛

    The magic of the inner zip of the bag is life saver 😉

    • kismitoffeebar · January 31, 2013

      🙂 My magical store is right next to my workplace. There are a few but this one is like convenient magic! 😛
      Bingo about the inner zip 😛

  2. Destination Infinity · January 31, 2013

    Just opposite to the Chennai book fair, there is always a group of second hand book vendors. For fiction lovers, this is the perfect heaven. They have very few non-fiction books though. But one can get rare books. Generally I spend a lot of time in these shops, but this time since I found many books inside the fair, I didn’t go. Thrift shops – This concept needs to catch up in India soon.

    Destination Infinity

    • kismitoffeebar · January 31, 2013

      Oh, I can imagine what a heaven that will be! I love book streets and book bazaars 🙂
      Yeah, there are many charming bookstores in India but haven’t been to a “thrift” store as such!

  3. Jas · January 31, 2013

    Nothing like this here and I deeply feel sad about it…. there are book bazaars but you only feel sweat and panting of breath after haggling with the seller…

    • kismitoffeebar · February 1, 2013

      Hey Jas!

      Book bazaars are also fun, no? The book streets especially 🙂 But a thrift store is always a blessing!

  4. eschris · January 31, 2013

    The description of your post reminded me of Select Book stores in Bangalore. 🙂

    but sadly for me, most of my books are just piled up, and i hardly read them. 😦

    First time here. Somehow, i was not very comfortable with the template layout of your blog. Maybe, its just my opinion. 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · February 1, 2013

      Hey there!

      Welcome here 🙂
      Oh, I buy books even when I have a few waiting to be read. I do this with kitchen groceries as well 😛 I love bookstores in Bangalore and some quaint ones in Mysore as well.

      Oh, the template. I am never satisfied with it either. I do change from time to time. I have retained this because it announces a new post with a featured image but am not happy with other features. Is there something specific that is wrong – too cluttered and the like? Or the way the posts are arranged? I would love to make it more friendly to the reader.
      I haev postponed getting my domain. I need to do that soonest! 🙂 Thanks for your feedback – really appreciate it!

  5. chattywren · January 31, 2013

    I loved this post, allowed myself to climb the ladder and look around in wide-eyed wonder………would love to visit such a place.

    • kismitoffeebar · February 1, 2013

      Thanks chattywren! 🙂 Come off and I will take you around to thrift stores 🙂

  6. anisnest · January 31, 2013

    wow that’s a nice account about a thrift store.. I have hardly been to such a store 😦

    • kismitoffeebar · February 1, 2013

      🙂 There must be right, in US? I somehow think of US as having many such stores with ladders 😛 Movie-effect I guess!

  7. Zephyr · February 1, 2013

    Many years ago, on a visit to the US, where we had gone as guests of the L&M’s employers, with their head office in Florida, we were assigned a local guide. As she briskly asked what we would like to see among the many tourist attractions, I asked her if there would be a good second hand book shop I could visit. She looked zapped. But finally ended up taking me there and I bought books for like, 10 cents and 50 cents and went crazy till the Lord bellowed, ‘Enough!’ 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · February 1, 2013

      Awesome wish Zephyr! But honestly, these are what make us happy. Seriously, 10 cents and 50 cents – I would go crazy buying the shop 🙂 Hehehehe. The Lord udnerstands 🙂

  8. The Girl Next Door · February 1, 2013

    Beautiful post! LOVED it! I could picture you entering the shop, and doing all of those things you have mentioned in the post. 🙂

    The shop sounds fantastic. Would have loved to see some pictures of it. Next time, pretty please?

    I have visited a few tiny thrift shops, but haven’t really found good stuff. This one sounds just like a dream come true. 🙂 Please add it to the must-take-TGND-here-when-she-visits-Singapore list. 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · February 1, 2013

      Thank you so much TGND 🙂 I really know how it feels to have such a beautiful dream coem true!

      I kind of already planned this on your list. So it is definitely on the list, okay? You just come off!

      The lighting isn’t too good and I never carry my camera so the lack of pictures. Will try that though! 🙂

  9. Amit · February 1, 2013

    Daryaganj Market in Delhi. I used to live there on Sundays, rummaging through second hand books. Good old days. 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · February 2, 2013

      I really want to go to Delhi for the book market Amit! I have heard a lot about it 🙂
      Lucky you! 🙂

  10. pixie · February 4, 2013

    I always wonder about the china… especially chipped mugs, mis-matched plates…
    I wonder whether it was broken.. or thrown ..
    Thrift shops and second-hand bookshops always have magic and stories in them! 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · February 4, 2013

      Absolutely true Pixie! 🙂 I wonder about what happened to the msising/ jagged sets as well. it is amazing how sometimes your mind can weave the most intricate of stories, just like the china 🙂

  11. Roshni · February 5, 2013

    Ah! You reminded me of College Street in Calcutta where I used to have the same experience, minus the knick-knacks!! The secret zip did save me by having money for me to go back home after my exploits!! 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · February 6, 2013

      🙂 What memories, no?
      I always think of the book stores in Mysore and B’lore as well. I would love to visit College Street in Calcutta. I have been to Calcutta but did not visit any book street 😦

      Ah, the wonderful wonderful secret zip saves the day yet again! 🙂

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