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Booked for life

Reveling in the joy of reading and selling books, Babji and Mani enjoy being in their `treasure of wisdom', says MUBIN SULTAN


BABJI WITH his wife Mani, proprietors of New Student Book Centre, entered Aroma's that assumed a new look brought in by overhanging red Chinese lamps.

"We both hail from Gudivada, but it wasn't a love marriage," says Babji, who succeeded in unwinding himself easily, while Mani still maintained her shy composure.

Her elegant, yet simple, saree personifies the care and support that proved instrumental for his success.

Beginning his career at a young age of 20, Babji is an example to aspiring businessmen in the city. "A group of enthusiastic friends and I spared the first thought of setting up a business to keep ourselves busy," he says.

He preferred setting up a bookshop in Vijayawada to a job in Tiruchirapalli in all innocence and has not looked back since 1968.

Respectable business

With many remarkable achievements on his list, his success ladder always encouraged him to move ahead with new innovations.

"All I had on mind was to have a respectable business and hence chose to sell books," he says while trying the Mongolian special Coriander and Lemon soup with the starters, Shanghai roll and Corn Datunga.

He regards it as an achievement when people flocked his shop in numbers huge enough to request for police supervision, when English textbooks were sold for the first time. A well-known name in the city for the sale of academic books, students look up to New Student Book Centre for quality stuff.

Mani manages money

Mani, who also manages the stores, discovered the art of book reading only after getting married to Babji.

She is proud of her husband's achievements and his active participation in the formation of Vijayawada Book Festival Society. As part of the Society, Babji played an important role in facilitating research students with a brilliant library, with joint and equal determination from other members of the society. Babji entertains himself taking up study tours to hosts of Book Festivals, reviews etc., to make the city's festival more intelligent and colourful. To Mani, relaxation is talking to her daughters in Delhi and Florida.

Babji's novel `Melas' are a boon to students and book lovers. "We come up with exhibitions and other interesting stuff to help people discover the joy of book-reading," says Babji partaking pulkas with Gobi masala and Palak paneer.

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