Brand new Crossword, with a bit of Mothercare and Coffee thrown in
I’ve finally found a place to hang out within walking distance of my home — the newly-built Kuppu Arcade on Venkatnarayana Road (adjacent to the T. Nagar Club). Shoppers Stop has come up with a swanky mall, housing the UK chain Mothercare, the coffee shop Brio, and the good old Crossword.
If you are a booklover and if you happen to be living in Chennai, it is impossible to be disloyal to Landmark. You get almost everything under the sun there. But there is something about Crossword stores, their ambience and their looks — and also the plastic bags they slip your new books into. Or maybe I am being partial because almost 60 percent of the books I possess today were bought from the Crossword store in South Extension in Delhi (sadly, the shop is shut now). I would spend hours there — the reason being you can’t beat Crossword when it comes to display. It is very easy on the eye. You find a Hemingway beckoning you here, and a Naipaul seeking your attention there.
Apparently, the Crossword policy is to encourage readers to browse and read — doesn’t matter if they don’t buy. The staff tell you of a story in Mumbai where a customer dozed off on the couch while reading, and he was not disturbed till it was time for the store to close. The T. Nagar Crossword also has luxurious couches, and you really can spend hours there, and once tired, you can recharge yourself with some quality coffee at Brio. Brio, by the way, has excellent sandwiches. My favourite is Bombay Masala.
Strange coincidence: the first book I ever bought in Crossword, Delhi, and the first book I ever bought in Crossword, T. Nagar, happen to be the same! — Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. The book is Bible for me, and for years I had kept it safe, till eight months ago, when I lent it to a girlfriend. She disappeared along with the book. I looked around, but most shops had run out of Hemingway. Finally, Crossword. Destiny, perhaps.
So you have a new landmark for booklovers in Chennai. In case you have a wife who is expecting, or a kid who is 0-9 years old, a visit to the Crossword store should come with a bonus — on the groundfloor there is Mothercare, where you find everything under the sun related to childbirth and childcare. Also a suitable venue for a date combined with browsing (bookworm-couples?).
Crossword, by the way, is also forming a book club, whose members will meet every alternate Saturday to discuss a new issue. To join, either drop by or call 42641850 and ask for Vishant or Oishee.