Believe it or not! There are fairies roaming around in Mumbai
Book fairy Kadambari Mehta
If you stopped believing in fairies, let us give you something to restore that faith. A new breed of these magical creatures has been encouraging Mumbaikars to read, one hidden book at a time. The Book Fairies is a global platform dedicated to hiding books around the world for people to find, read, and then leave for the next person.
All books that are dropped off have a sticker on them detailing instructions for whoever picks them up on what to do next. Pics/ Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Ten days back, their Mumbai chapter officially kicked off, with Kadambari Mehta, 32, a resident of South Mumbai, as the city's official book fairy.
"The concept of Book Fairies originated from Emma Watson's book club earlier this year in March; it was a feminist book club called "Our Shared Shelves", where she eventually started dropping off books in the subways and other public spots in London and New York," Mehta said, shortly after which, the book club moved on to become a global platform, wherein people could sign up and order their book fairy stickers from anywhere in the world.
City’s book fairy Kadambari Mehta drops off books at different locations
"All you need to do is stick the sticker on the book that you are planning to drop off; it has all the instructions on it for the next person to follow. There is no restriction on the kind of books -- they can be old or new and belong to any genre."
City's book fairy Kadambari Mehta drops off books at different locations
Although the Mumbai chapter was officially launched just 10 days back, Mehta has been a book fairy since April. "I have done 10 book drops till date; some of the books that I chose to drop off were George Orwell's Animal Farm and Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated," she said.
Yesterday, she carried out another four book drops in and around the Jehangir Art Gallery and Kala Ghoda area, bringing her total to 14 books.
Youngsters pick up some of the dropped-off books
Multi-lingual reads, iconic locations
According to Mehta, the goal of being a book fairy is to encourage and inculcate the habit of reading among people. "People can make the most of their time at public places by reading instead of playing games on their mobile phones," she said. "There is also major scope of having books of different languages in Mumbai, considering we are a highly cosmopolitan city. We want to eventually look at books written in Marathi, Gujarati, and Hindi that have a significant readership here."
Youngsters pick up some of the dropped-off books to read
Children's books can also be used to encourage reading among those in the younger age groups. "We want to be particular about the kind of location that the books are dropped off at," pointed out Mehta. "All the pictures of drop-offs go up on social media; our account represents the city on a global platform, one that people from over 70 countries are following and seeing the kind of books we are dropping off."
The goal of being a book fairy is to encourage and inculcate the habit of reading among people
The Book Fairies are in Kolkata, Bengaluru and Delhi, and now Mumbai (@bookfairies_mumbai on Instagram).