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Fish 'n' books 'n' magic


ONCE UPON a time, not so long ago, there was a very nice bookstore and children's activity space in Indiranagar called Wordplay. It was growing, and parents who accompanied the children to the workshops in cookery, creative writing, and dance found themselves at a loose end. "I must have something for them too," thought Pramita Prasad, the owner of Wordplay.

In another part of town, Pramita's husband Guru Prasad, a busy planter with estates to look after, wanted to have an arowana at home.

He searched high and low for this Chinese dragon fish, considered a good thing to have according to Feng Shui, but no one seemed to have it. Then he found Rajaram K.N. of Mathsyavatar, who not only had aruwanas, but also knew how to maintain them at home. And out of the blue, Mr. Prasad got the idea: "Why don't I set up a store selling fish tanks as a lifestyle concept?"

And that was how Out of the Blue was born, a lifestyle store (or a destination store) that is also the new home of Wordplay. In addition to an entire section devoted to children's books, the place has books for adults, exclusive hand-painted crockery, handmade jewellery, and designer sterling silverware. A selection of garden fresh teas and other gift products are also displayed in the tastefully decorated shop.

The Out of the Blue Activity Centre upstairs is a thatched space where children can learn various interesting things. "We will have workshops by Preeti Sunderajan in Bharatnatyam, contemporary dance by Shabari of STEM, fine arts by Seema Satyu, and Yogacize by homaeopath and dancer Dr. Seshadri," says Ms. Pramita Prasad, who herself will be handling workshops in cookery for children and reading appreciation courses.

Out of the Blue is actually in blue, or mostly so.

Blue Lanka tiles on the floor, with pieces of mirror embedded around the skirting, look magical. Rough blue on the ceiling with smart sail-like material strung together remind one of the open sea with bountiful fish. Ducks carved out of roots (priced at Rs. 890) add to the atmosphere of leisure.

Artistically fixed bamboo poles make one think of beaches and lazing and... reading too. "The house that my property broker showed me had to be totally redone to acquire this look," say the Prasads, who were assisted in the design department by interior designer Radhika Sreenivasan.



Fishing for a new lifestyle? — Photos: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

A small flight of stairs, with a fountain and fish tank adjacent to it, takes one to the fish and aquaria section, taken care of by Mr. Rajaram's assistants. "We have seven different types of display tanks here, with different fish in a setting as natural to each species as possible," says he. "The Cichlids, for instance, are found only in Tanganyika and Malawi lakes in East Africa and need alkaline water. The Discus or Rainbow Fish, found in South America, need soft water with plenty of aquatic plants, and believe me, taking care of aquatic plants is far trickier than taking care of the fish!"

The exciting and "maybe even life changing activity of keeping fish" can start with an investment of Rs.1,500. The investment depends entirely on how exotic and how big the tank is.

People at Out of the Blue say that they will not only help customers set up home or office aquariums, but also help in maintaining them.

And so starts the story of the fish and the books and the nice little things that promise to live happily ever after... at Out of the Blue, 381, 13th Cross, Sadashivnagar, Bangalore. Phone: 30616083/ 51154620. E-mail: ootb2@hotmail.com

MALA KUMAR

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