You turn over the last page of a book, sigh silently, taking in the ending. You rub the back of your neck, taut in testimony to the hours spent pouring over the words. Your eyes are glazed over, the lack of sleep finding its release in the form of tears that threaten to spill. Outside, the sky is pink, and for a moment you’re unsure – has the sun set – or wait, risen? Hello, fellow bibliophile. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I promise to make some space for you on the bandwagon when I’m heading to group therapy for BA (that’s Book Addicts, for those who are dense).
Until then, however, I would recommend strolling down to a cafe (a place where you are sure to find other like-minded, dark-circled, caffeine-powered bookaholics), ordering a cappuccino and losing yourself in the whitespace of your novel, once again. The reason is simple: if by some twisted turn of fate or sheer dumb luck, you find yourself so immersed in your latest Crossword Bookstore find that you lose track of time, rest assured that the baristas — who are on the tail-end of their 8-hour shift — will (without a shred of doubt) ask you to leave. Repeatedly.
If, however, you don’t know the right place to start, here is a beginner’s guide to 5 bookshop cafes to help you slowly ease back into the world outside.
1. Leaping Windows, Mumbai
In the quietude of Leaping Windows’ reading room, one can find themselves face-to-face with columns upon columns of comic book spines. A cosy hideaway from the everyday hubbub of Mumbai, Leaping Windows is a picture-perfect setting, one that comes alive in the midst of a caffeine-scented archive of manga, picture books and graphic novels. At this coffee outpost in Andheri West, as you settle into your seat with a latte and a copy of Asterix and Cleopatra in hand; the countless stories around are sure to absorb you into their own pages.
2. Café Turtle, New Delhi
In the charming corridors of Khan Market lives Café Turtle — an independent, family-run bookstore cafe in New Delhi that hides our fondest childhood memories within its nooks. Set up in collaboration with Full Circle Bookstore, the signboard outside Café Turtle proudly, and aptly, reads: Stop. Breathe. Enjoy. So, once you’ve stopped to enjoyably breathe in the aroma of roasting java and expertly procrastinated your day’s work, make sure to indulge in their endless collection of books, coffees and gourmet delicacies.
3. Champaca Bookstore, Bangalore
An independent women-run bookstore that is nestled in a cul-de-sac on Edward Road, Champaca Bookstore is a reflection of nature. Poetry readings, film screenings, avocado toasts, smoothies, and cakes — Champaca Bookstore is where you will find it all, enclosed within a glass case of double pane windows and cosy corners. Equal parts bookshop, library and cafe, this space is bathed in sunlight, earthy cups of coffee and with books upon books piled up ceilings high.
4. The Flying Goat, Goa
A heartwarming space that is decked up with colour-coordinated shelves of paperbacks, The Flying Goat is a cafe, bar and bookstore tucked away in Anjuna, Goa. Stepping in feels like entering an age-old veranda — a space where charpais unfold against a lush backyard farm and bookshelves brim with unheard stories. The coffee here is soul-stirring, the patio is soothing and the availability of books, endless.
5. The Coffee Cup, Hyderabad
A quiet, serene getaway with an IV-drip worthy cup of joe, The Coffee Cup in Sainikpuri, Hyderabad is perfect for an evening of monsoon breeze, hazelnut lattes and secretly people-watching while you pretend to read. With comic book posters plastered on exposed-brick walls and mantel shelves adorned with classics and potted plants, this cafe wears its heart on its sleeve, and can be found on the outskirts of the city. While the coffee itself is worth the trek, The Coffee Cup is more aptly suited for you to stall your everyday tasks and choose instead to hide within the covers of a book.