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Friday, December 27, 2013

Santosh Pande

A neighbour of mine introduced me to the Alfa stores at Irla a couple of years ago.

Once when the 2 of us were walking back from Alfa to her car which was parked in the parking space around the nallah, i noticed a small raddi shop. I assumed it was a raddi shop as I found a pile of books outside.

The next time I went to irla, I dropped in at the store. Santosh Book Stall.

It wasnt a raddi ki dukaan. It was a bookstore, selling secondhand books, cheap versions of new releases and a lot more. I bought a couple of books and as is 'stree sulabh', I asked him fr a discount. The books were already marked down, even when compared to my usual 2nd hand haunts in Parla east. And yet.

A gentleman who was also browsing for books there, handed me a laminated sheet. On it was an appeal - Do not bargain. It had a small story on how he started the book store and how the books are anyway reasonably priced. How the owner is a book lover . . etc etc.

I was suitably chastised. And I was hooked. Santosh Pande found a place in the contact list in my phone.

He has a good selection of books. Once he is familiar with your tastes , he gently suggests titles. Even otherwise . And he is never pushy.

You request a book and he will make a genuine attmept to look for it. For a book which is difficult to source, when he eventually does manage to trace it, he will call you to check if you are ok with the price... oh, santosh pande is a delight !

The last time I went to his shop he shyly mentioned that he had written a book. On mythology and in hindi. . The book he has written is his take on the Ramayana.. where he portrays Kaikeyi as a very positive character who was never given her due.

You can only imagine the expression on my face as he was speaking to me. He mentioned that the book is being translated into english and will be out in Feb. I was impressed. and very happy for him . “Jab chhap ke aa jaayega, main aapko call karunga” , he said, with a justifiable pride.

Santosh Book stall has a web presence. A patron has designed/ created it for him.

Santosh Pandey is with the times..I just recieved a Watsapp messageg from him.. yessir.. he is on watsapp too. He texted – “aapka book aaya hai”. and before I could reply with a 'kaunsa' (i had given him a list of 3)... there was another message. A picture of the book.

Santosh Pandey , to the appearance is a tall , dark, pan masala chewing , ordinary kind of a guy . Turns out he is nothing short of extraordinary .

The passion he has for his chosen line of work is simply amazing

Santosh Pande, the man with the personal touch.. has touched many a lives, many a heart. Mine included !


  1. Hey,
    I really enjoyed this page of ur blog as I could relate to all the things you have written about Santosh.
    Well, quite similar to your story, today I also literally happen to just walk pass by the nullas and walked in the lane with no intention of buying a book.
    And then got talking to Santosh n the rest is similar to what you have shared above.
    I luckily also could get a detail description of teh front page design of his book on Ramayna and a short narration of it n it sounds quiet promising in the sense of the challenges he is trying to pose through his perspective. It was then he told me that he also has a Google presence and if you type his name you ll get to read about it. And so I am directed to your blog!
    It feels nice to see such encouragement of genuine efforts :)
    Bless you :)

  2. hi, Manjiri.

    thank you for writing in. people like Pande are an inspiration... his commitment, passion, absolutely praiseworthy !

  3. Yesss truely agree to the passionate Hero Santosh Pandey....very very inspiring person....kool committed....ready with any title you want. Hats off to his mythological Work !!!!

    Awesome Human Being !!!!

    1. am glad you feel the same Renuka. :-)

  4. Thank you all for your kind words of appreciation

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