From pop culture to timeless classics, Hazratganj's Kalakunj Internationale continues to awe readers
Bibliophiles in Lucknow, today, step aboard with us as we dig the story of this age-old bookstore in Hazratganj. While the face of Ganj has transformed completely in the last few decades, this little shopee remained as it always has, keeping the magic still alive.
Embark with us on this short journey of exploring one of the oldest book shops in Lucknow. The Kalakunj Internationale, that has been standing tall since 1980, is like a petite paradise for readers of the city.
In conversation with the Kalakunj owner, Sanjay Arora
Manned by Sanjay Arora, the shop is a cornucopia of colourful magazines, comics, novellas and novels on expansive range of subjects. From ageless classics to trending reads — the shop is adorned by piles of works from the most adored writers. From a range of Indian authors and even their lesser-known works to rare books by Machiavelli, from selected poetry anthologies of John Keats, Walt Whitman, and so on, to short stories by Manto, Poe, among others, Kalakunj, nestled near Cathedral in Ganj, has everything to charm bibliomanes!
On talking to the owner Sanjay, we tried to figure out if the culture of reading has depreciated. To this, he responded, "People still very much visit the store. There's definitely improvement in the reading aspect, too, especially in teenagers who pick from self-help books and science fiction to Manga comics."
On asking him about the online culture of reading e-books, he opined, "People do tend to experiment with e-books but eventually return to physical books because they're easy to read and also encourage all to step out of the digital verse for a while."
"A lot of readers also go for non-fiction and books on business. Kids love poetry, too, and prefer to read great and spiritual poets like Rumi. Hindi culture is also thriving," he added, attempting to draw stats.
From pop culture to old classics, from toys to stationery, the lil bookshop has everything
While talking of the rising trend of Japanese comics (Manga), he expressed, "As of now, we keep a raw profile of Manga comics in the store because they're expensive but we try to supply whatever is demanded by our regulars."
"Hawa jaisi chal rahi, wo waise padhna pasand karte hain," he shared his observation on the youth.
The bookstore is also part of a delightful gift gallery where you can shop for aesthetic items — from all kinds of stationery to fandom figurines (characters from One Piece, Harry Potter, Naruto, etc) and other toys and trinkets.
The 43-year old bookstore adapts and evolves according to changing times, speaking volumes of its success and appreciation. If you are a book lover and a collector, love the fragrance of pages in antique books, this place is for you!
Timings: 11 AM - 9 PM (Sundays closed)
Location: 37, Mg Marg, Hazratganj, Lucknow