All customers walking out of the Gangarams Book Bureau on Friday were handed a souvenir — a small postage sticker that plaintively announced that this would be their last purchase at the iconic bookstore.
The stationery wing of Gangarams, which has stood on MG Road for nearly four decades, will shut shop on Sunday and for its owners and its patrons, it will remain a bittersweet day.
“We have to move out of this building on May 31 and since March 31 is the end of financial year, we thought we would shut down the branch that sells the postage stamps, stationary and more,” said an emotional Atmaram N Gagaram, owner of the stationery wing.
More than a business, it looked like a family gathering at Gangarams.
Atmaram walked around the store cracking a joke or two with the patrons. The regulars, who had rushed to MG Road to visit their favourite bookstore one last time before its closure, offered their well wishes and wrote down their memories of Gangarams in a register.
“It was an experience coming here. It’s one of the only stores I have visited in Bangalore where I have felt at home,” wrote Priya G.
“I have hundreds of happy memories here every day at the store. There have been odd requests that have come our way but every time you satisfy a customer, it’s a happy memory right there. About 10 years ago, the then chief minister Veerappa Moily, came to the store to buy a greeting card for his daughter. There is a memory everywhere,” said Atmaram.
“I have not earned a lot of money running this store.
I have not taken many vacations, but I have received a lot of well wishes and made some good friends,” he said.
The list of Gangarams’ fans includes film and theatre personality Girish Karnad, who walked in on Friday and browsed through the postage stamps on display.
Karnad left a kind note in the register for Atmaram to treasure.
“Gangarams has been a milestone in my experience of Bangalore ever since I first came here,” he wrote.
Some are discovering the Gangarams for the first time as the store brings down its curtains. Atmaram said the section featuring books will find a home soon enough in the city.
“The stationery section is gone forever. We couldn’t keep it up. The bookstore will close on May 31. Hopefully, by the first week of June, it will find a home in another place in the city,” he added.