Little Kulture sat down with Ahalya Momaya, co-owner of Trilogy library and bookstore to know more about her wonderful space. Ahalya was raised on books by an avid book-reading father and a mother who insisted on home cooked lunches and a book from the library down the road for her girls on a daily basis. Ahalya and her sister therefore grew on a steady diet of Enid Blyton and Tintin books. Along the way, she met her husband Meethil Momaya another lover of books. Pretty soon the two of them they decided that they must put up a space for all book lovers, young and old.
And what a space they have put up. Today, Trilogy By The Eternal Library sits ensconced in a quiet corner of the Raghuvanshi mills in Lower Parel. You climb the stairs and step into a completely different world. A large and roomy store, beautiful books and so many of them, await your attention. Blue doors, a dedicated space to sit and read are some of the highlights of Trilogy. Wildlife, fantasy, adventure, art, culture, photography, picture books …name a pick and you will be assisted to it.
Also be ready to be welcomed by the cheerful, athletic and erudite Ahalya.She is at hand to encourage kids to try different books; she tries to gently persuade them to read beyond the easy and familiar.
Trilogy has titles that I for one, have looked for in vain in the libraries I have been a member of. Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately the Milk, Sendak (hardcover no less), Flora and Ulysess by Kate DiCamillo, The Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe, Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson, Beetel Boy by M.G.Leonard and Toto-chan by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi to name a few. Books that you have heard spoken about with joy and reverence and wish your child could have access to, beyond the Stiltons and Wimpy Kid series that seem to dominate most of the children’s books racks.
Trilogy also has a treasure trove of adult books that attending parents can relish. If you love a book a lot, you can pick it up from the bookstore.
What was supposed to be a one-hour interview, soon turned into two. This post is a transcription of the same.
LK is for Little Kulture and A is for Ahalya.
LK: Many children are scared of books? Do books bite by any chance?
A: No, but they do throw tantrums. You can’t push books. Children are often scared of books because they associate it with school. Sometimes their associations with books are scary. There is a child who refuses to read books, because his elder sister only tells him scary stories. His association with books are one of fear.
LK: Why did you start a library?
A: There are too many great books that do not see the light of day and should be a part of your life. That’s why we started Trilogy in 2014.
LK:How does having a library in the neighbourhood help?
A: Our library is located in a business district. We have office-goers dropping by during lunch break to pick books for their children and themselves. We have out-of-towners who drop by. Some of our members move away but continue to come by when they are in Mumbai.
LK: Do you have a lot of children come by?
A: Yes, we have several children who come by with their parents. The traffic is more through vacations and tends to dip through exams.
LK: What kind of books do children generally pick up?
A: Children and teens pick up books largely from two categories; Fantasy and Detective books. So Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree and Alex Riders are picked up often.
LK: What books would you recommend to children?
A: Children have their own preferences. Some children for instance, refuse to pick books on talking animals but are alright with fairies. Children from the North seem to understand and like Ruskin Bond, being able to identify with the winters and hills a lot better than say children in coastal Mumbai.
LK: Can you name 5 of your favourite books from your childhood?
A: Hmm..let me see…
- Magic Of The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
- Moondial by Helen Cresswell
- Five children and it by E. Nesbit
- Secret Princess by Rosie Banks
- The Tintin series
LK: How did the books you read help you when you started to work? (Ahalya started her career as an editor at Hornbill magazine)
A: If you read a lot of books you start to develop an ear for language. Your eyes and your ears become fine tuned to spot more, understand more. Now it helps me as I curate books. The amount of general knowledge you pick up as you read books, is simply not funny. Plus, you can experience the joy you felt when you were four or ten and were given a book to read.
LK: Can you give our readers 3 tips to start a home library?
A: Key three tips to get a home library going would be:
- Understand who is your reader(s).
- Grow your collection
- Fine tune the collection based on reader tastes.
LK: How important do you think libraries are today?
A: Extremely. It is high time adults start re-reading. Stories can change you for life and prepare you for experiences yet to happen. Reading makes you a more patient listener and helps you learn to formulate thoughts. Books are so interesting, they help in humanising people and places.
LK: What is a typical day at the library like?
A: We don’t have one typical day. There are books that have to be retired. Books to be welcomed. Book lists to be prepared. We get calls for books; we order books. There is never an idle minute. We also have to take care of our accounts. March is approaching, and I’m dreading it.
LK: Did you have to take a course to set up your library?
A: Not really. We love books and are looking at ways to get more people to read different kinds of books.
If you are a Mumbaikar or visiting Mumbai, do visit:
1st floor, Building No. 28,
Above Mercedes Service Centre,
Raghuvanshi Mills Compound,
Senapati Bapat Marg,
Lower Parel (west),
Curated Library, Hyper Curated Bookstore, Hand-picked Literary Events
Landline: +91 8080 590 590 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online address: trilogy.com