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Books on the Go: Delhi Woman's Initiative on Metro Aims to Give Everyone a Chance to Read

Shruti Sharma dropped her first book in 2017, a copy of 'The Namesake' by author Jhumpa Lahiri. (Image for representation/Shutterstock)

Shruti Sharma dropped her first book in 2017, a copy of 'The Namesake' by author Jhumpa Lahiri. (Image for representation/Shutterstock)

Volunteers, known as 'book fairies', would click a book's photo and drop it off at some metro train or station and post a photo of the book on social media for the followers to pick up the hint.

For Delhi’s Shruti Sharma, her love for books has always made her feel she ought to do something unique and as Delhi’s lifeline, the ever-dependent Delhi Metro served as the ultimate place for her to do so. Inspired by how British actress Emma Watson planted books on New York, London subways and on street corners in Paris wanting to encourage book reading among the masses, Sharma decided to do the same on Delhi Metro, The New Indian Express reported.

Shruti dropped her first book in 2017, a copy of ‘The Namesake’ by author Jhumpa Lahiri with the help of her husband Tarun Chauhan.

“As a child, I did not have a lot of books. I love reading but owning books was a luxury. In a way, I grew up chasing books. With Books on the Delhi Metro, I wanted everyone to have access to books," Shruti was quoted as saying.

Shruti handled the first couple of months of the initiative by herself but after that when her project caught up everywhere, people start to join as volunteers. These volunteers, known as ‘book fairies’, would prepare a schedule for a book drop. Under this, a particular book’s photo will be clicked and posted on social media for the followers to pick up the hint. After someone picks it it up, it will be read and then the commuter will again drop it off at a nearby metro station and inform about it, for someone else to pick it up.

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Although the lockdown set back Shruti’s initiative by quite some time, the team decided to find an alternate way to reach connect to the readers. A new method was devised and under this, questions used to be asked about a particular book and whoever has more insights, gets the book dropped off at their place.

Shruti hopes to restart book drops early in 2022 if all goes normal with the pandemic situation.

As for the original project started by Watson, the Harry Potter star had launched an international project that saw close to a 1,000 books left in public places for people to pick up and read. The Book Fairies started in London with the Books on the Underground project, but then spread to over 30 26 countries.

The books, by feminist authors including Caitlyn Moran and Maya Angelou, were an initiative for the year’s International Women’s Day.

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first published:October 18, 2021, 09:56 IST