If you’ve ever taken the Metro in New Delhi, you probably know that to make your commute smooth, you need a distraction. While most people prefer to use their smartphones, a Delhi-based couple is attempting to change that. Writer Shruti Sharma and her husband Tarun Chauhan are leaving book all over the city’s Metro stations to encourage people to read while on-the-go.
Shruti spoke to The Lowdown about the initiative, writing, and more. Excerpts:
Tell us about Books on the Delhi Metro. How did it start? Why did you decide to do this?
Books On The Delhi Metro is a not-for-profit initiative aimed at promoting reading while commuting. The initiative functions as a public library, but on wheels. As a part of global organization, Books on the Move Global aims to bring back the joy of reading and sharing. So, if you find a stickered book on the Metro, feel free to pick it up and take it home with you. But when you’re done, be sure to put it back on the metro for someone else to enjoy.
It started with a few books from my own shelf. I started leaving books on the Delhi Metro to see if people wanted to pick them up while commuting. And they did. They actually did!
You are a writer yourself, so what impact does this project might make on your writing?
Before being a writer, I am a book-lover, and even before that, I am a happy soul who believes in spreading smiles. So, the impact has reached my book-lover soul. Every day I am making a difference to someone’s life and that’s an incredible feeling. Maybe one day, I will be able to put down all this happiness into a book and weave a good story.
Considering this project just started in May, it has already gained a lot of traction. Would you say that’s a good sign for the future of books?
Yes! Definitely. May we grow onwards and upwards.
How did you start your reading? What have been your major influences?
My mother. She is a school teacher and she used to bring books for me from library. We didn’t have the liberty to spend money on books back then. So, we used to devour books together.
Are you planning to start branching out in other cities as well?
Books in Kolkata Metro has already started. Let’s hope for the best.
What is the process of choosing books?
There is no process as such. We just pick books randomly. The only exception are books that may hurt religious sentiments.
Tell us about the response. What’s the most interesting feedback received from readers?
People come with different responses. Some jump when they find the book. Some feel sad when they miss the book by minutes. But, everyone adds one line at the end, “You guys are doing an incredible job.” They don’t want us to stop anytime in future.
What kind of books get the best response?
Books that have been bestsellers- like Ruskin Bond, Gulzar, and Harry Potter get the best response. But, I think Delhi embraces new authors just as warmly.
So, the next time you find a book on the Delhi Metro, you know who to thank!