Life Sentence (True Story of Hope)!
Life Sentence is a true story of a book café located in queen of hills Shimla, India, where life sentence prisoners serve in the Cafeteria and take care of the Café during day. I recently got the chance to visit the place. For, all bibliophile and visitors of Shimla from across the world, I have collected the information about the kind of collection of books found in the book café.
Let’s begin with the location and concept of this book café, Shimla, which is unique.
Location of the Book Café -: This, small and beautiful book café is located at the most beautiful location Takka Bench, The Ridge, Shimla. Any visitor or a reader visiting the café, can feel the solace and deep peace, while reading in this café, between the mountains. You will feel you are sitting above the mountain, with cool breeze and lots of peace around, which is enhancing your focus. And, if you are a bibliophile like me, you would end up loving this place.
Concept Look & Feel of the Book Café -: As I mentioned, I recently got chance to visit this café. Firstly, while moving above the hill, I never expected, that I would able to find a café on the way and that’s also a book café. When I entered inside, and had a view of this small, well-managed Café cum mini Library, with all the confectionary, tea and coffee available for readers and visitors, I was amazed. I was accompanied with my brother. We both ordered tea to the two men, who were standing, opposite to a counter, carrying various bakery biscuits, pastries and Pizzas. Both were wearing light blue dress, which I found quite different because generally in India, in a normal or small café, people do not serve in proper dress. Well, my eyes were completely floating on the books in shelves of the café. The shelves were full of few of the national and international best sellers. Few of the best picked or searched are -:
From Books on Tourism collection -: The books grabbed my attention were ‘Shimla (A British Himalayan Town)’ by Sumit Raj Vashisht and Chamba Himalaya (Amazing Land, Unique Culture) by K.R Bharti -: Well narrated and explained with beautiful pictures. Must read for those, want to understand about the local land and culture.
In addition to that a very interesting book on Shimla, which grabbed my attention was “More Ghost Stories of Shimla Hills by Minakshi Chaudhary.
From International Best Sellers collection -: The books which striked me from the collection was Behind God’s Back by Negley Farson, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Erich Segal’s Only Love
- From National Best Sellers -: Best sellers of Durjoy Dutta and Chetan Bhagat was also present, in that small and precise collection.
- Kid’s Stories -: A small beautiful section was devoted to kid’s story books, the most colourful one.
After analysing all the book shelves, thoroughly, I was very much impressed with the collection. And, couldn’t resist but ask the attendants at the Café, “who select the books for this Café”? One of them replied that Corporation people and also donated by the local people.
I wanted to know more about the authorities behind the book café because I really liked the location and concept. Thus, out of curiosity googled about the café, after coming out from the café and was surprised to know, that the attendants of the Café, with whom I just interacted, were life sentence prisoners. And, this Book Café is the combined effort of Shimla Jail authority and Municipal Corporation of Shimla.
Three life sentence prisoners of Shimla Jail, got the permission to handle the café during the day time. The only final words I want to say about the café that it is a ray of hope for the prisoners and a welcome move from local authorities.
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