Premier closing: update

I didn’t want to update in my previous post since that might not make it through to RSS readers and I thought this merited a new post anyway.

I went to Premier on Thursday and in the hour that I was there, two journalists came to interview Mr. Shanbagh. It was nice to hear some of his stories and to see fellow book- and Premier-lovers come to browse and to ask Mr. Shanbagh not to close down. It seems that all the Premier regulars are saddened by this news.

It was strange to see some of Premier’s walls and notice the ceiling and an attic, etc. Usually, all you saw were books, books, and more books.

I asked Mr. Shanbagh twice about when he’s closing Premier and he said that next he’d close by next week and that Saturday, 14th Feb, would probably be the last day. If you are planning to go though, I suggest that you don’t wait for that long and go when you have a chance.

A couple of people were asking him about keeping the shop open or whether he’d reopen a new store later. He joked about the former (essentially No) and to the latter question he seemed like he wasn’t sure and even said that he might consider it, “if things were right”. I doubt if he will, but if he does reopen elswhere that’d be great.

I felt grateful that he’d kept the store open through so many years. He told the interviewer that his day at Premier starts around 9.45 or so in the morning and he reaches back home around 9 in the night. Doing this for 35+ years, six and a half days a week, is quite something. His only indulgence is to have a cup of coffee, earlier at Koshy’s and now at a nearby place whose name suddenly escapes me.

I got the impression that though his decision was a hard one, he was at peace with his decision. He looked happy and relaxed to me.

I hope to go to Premier one more time for a final goodbye. What can I say: I’ve never been good with goodbyes; I always find them hard.

Update: 13 Feb 2009

I went to Premier today and Mr. Shanbagh told me that the store will be open for one more week, possibly till the next weekend. He still has quite a few books left to sell, so if you’ve not gone there or want to buy some books, make a trip. You’ll be helping him out, you’ll get discounts you can’t beat, and you’ll get to visit an iconic place in Bangalore. What more can you ask for?

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5 thoughts on “Premier closing: update

  1. I hope he will think of opening in another place and all the book lovers can once again enjoy browsing and buying there!

  2. 35 something years…wow. that really is something. Suddenly, I am feeling really bad about this. Not just about the fact that he’s closing the store….just that in a sense, another thing familiar to me about Bangalore (really the old Bangalore that I grew up in and loved so much) is going to go away…must add a note saying that my association with Premier started way back in middle school! I studied in Bishop Cotton Girls School which is a road away from Premier and when we topped our class academically, the school was actually sensible enough to give us gift coupons from Premier as prizes. I invariably had a couple of coupons every year, and SO looked forward to going to Premier and picking up books…so, I grew through the years, buying books ranging from encyclopedias to Nancy Drews (yes, much to my Mom’s eye rolling) to novels for older kids and teenagers….absolutely loved it….as a result, kept going back even as an adult…
    I guess even someone dedicated enough like Shanbagh needs to retire at some point….I just feel bad that one more thing that you knew for so long and grew up with is going away.

  3. Jayalakshmi: Yeah, I hope so too but I am not sure that it’ll happen.

    Greeshma: You’re one of many people who have had long-time associations with Premier and I think it’s part of the reason why people are feeling sad about its closing down.

    You’re right about familiar things going away in Bangalore. India Coffee House on MG road is going to be gone (or is already gone) too though I never used to frequent that place too much.

    I wish these kinds of places could be declared as heritage sites or something.

  4. Read about it – Though I don’t have a very long history with the shop as most of them who express themselves do, I really felt bad at this. I remember when the same issue popped up a while back (a year or two) and somehow, the owner had managed to get an extension.

    It’s also disheartening to see Select Bookstore, and India Coffee House going the same way.

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