Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The State Of Books: #2 – The Rescue

In the prequel to this post, I related the state of my college library and my thoughts as well as feelings about the same. I also mentioned that I would go ahead and relate the rescue of the books that some of us students attempted for the love of books.

So, it was all carnage and utter destruction when I first saw the library being dismantled. My only regret is that I did not take photographs of what happened there. It would have been more horrifying for you to see it for yourselves because apparently, “Pictures talk louder than words.”

The four of us and a few irregulars started picking up books from the great pile in the middle of the library and started classifying them according to their genres. And it wasn't like we only took care of English literature, we tried to get together all that was still intact and that could be repaired and used. We started restacking the shelves for those who wanted to buy the books and we picked up some books to buy ourselves, amongst them volumes that we had desired for years. Well, finders – keepers, eh? After all, we were only human and we also needed a little motivation to work in that pile of dust, rust, termites and falling cement that we used to call a library.

We went down to the basements to work as often as we could, between classes and even in the lunch breaks. It was a kind of longing to see the books put back in a place which they deserved or see them sent to a place where they would be treasured. Many of my friends also came and helped out occasionally, more in hope of finding some text or the other, rather than to do anything about the mess. But that was also for the best, for the more people who came down there, the more they used to buy books and take away.

After a couple of days of sitting in lectures all dirty, smelling and itching all over I decided it would be a good idea to get a napkin and a change of clothes. So I did that! Now I could go down there in all my free time and get back to the lectures all clean and fresh, albeit sneezing from the amount of dust I’d inhaled in that basement. Sometimes I felt like an archaeologist discovering things from the dust, cleaning them, classifying them and trying to restore them for future generations. Kind of gave me a sense of pride in what our group was doing.

Well, after a week or so, we had managed to save quite a number of books but we had lost a majority of them and none of us were too happy about that as you can well imagine. Now, we had to do one last thing; we had to collect books that would be useful to the English department and haul them there. The department was setting up a couple of shelves for this purpose to our delight and so we got working on which books would make it to the department and which ones would be sold off. In the end we managed to get a trunk load of books to the department and there they stand a proud reminder of our endeavours on behalf of literature.

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