Pagdandi Bookstore Cafe and Akshardhara Book Gallery are two renowned havens for book lovers in Pune. What makes them popular among the masses? How did they come about it? At the Pune edition of the Women Writer’s Festival the panel on “Indie Bookstores: Building reader communities and creating cultural hubs” moderated by Archana Pai Kulkarni tried to seek answers from the founders Neha and Vishal Pipariya, Ramesh and Rasika Rathavdekar.

Pagdandi Bookstore and its inception

Talking about how he started Pagdandi Bookstore, Vishal Pipariya explained that he was broke and so the only option was to start with a collection of 1,000 books he and his wife owned. To increase their collection, they would further buy second-hand books.

He also mentioned how the couple was in love with books and the idea of spreading them which was a driving force behind the store’s inception.

On the culture of sharing spaces

Vivek talked about how the duo believes in the culture of sharing spaces. “We wanted to create a space where people are comfortable sharing spaces and Pagdandi is exactly that and that’s how it helps. This automatically leads to people conversing with each other or people peeping into each other’s books or newspapers,” he shared.

Why the name “Pagdandi”?

Neha Pipariya elaborated on how the name Pagdandi is a metaphor of the phase of life they were in when they started the bookstore. Pagdandi is like a path that unfolds only when you walk on it. You cannot construct it. “While travelling, we met a lot of people who were very inspiring. They were just breathing every day without any worries.”

“Through Pagdandi, we want to expose people to all the creative aspects of life,” Vishal added.

Akshardhara Bookstore and its inception

Ramesh Rathavdekar started Akshardha with his wife Rasika after marriage. He wanted the space to be a very warm and welcoming one where the visitors could feel at home. They didn’t want any barriers between the readers and the books.

What sets the space apart?

“We don’t like to keep an eye on the visitors coming to our bookstore. They have the freedom to take as much time as they want in selecting a book,” Rathavdekar comments.

Other initiatives to promote reading

Following a suggestion, the couple also started organising a lot more events that brought the reader and author together. “We do around 4-5 events every month along with running the bookstore, where we provide a platform for authors and readers to come together and share their love for reading and writing.”

One of their recent initiatives includes ‘Kusumagraj Vachak Katta’ in Pune which is an innovative place to explore through Literary and Cultural programs.

Also: From Leaving A Scene At A Kiss, Women Writers Now Bare It All

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