Duo's unique endeavour to promote reading habit

Duo's unique endeavour to promote reading habit

Books-on-wheels plan to cover 10,000 km; visit 20 states in 3 months

At a time when social media has deviated the youth and even children from reading books, which has become a boring activity for the youngsters, two youths from Odisha, who are on a road trip across India to promote reading, have arrived in Mysuru, on Monday.

Satabdi Mishra and Akshaya, from Bhubaneshwar, have taken up ‘Read More India -2015’ campaign, in an effort to promote reading habit among people, especially children. The duo, who owns a bookstore ‘Walking Bookfairs’ in Bhubaneshwar, have set out on a three month-long road trip from Odisha with a truck that has been converted into a library and is loaded with more than 4,000 books, with an objective to re-introduce the reading habit.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Satabdi said they had a plan to cover 10,000 km across the country, and visit 20 states, in three months. They set out on the journey on December 15, 2015, and have toured across Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and have reached Karnataka. They have plans to wind up the trip by March 15 after visiting the remaining states.

The truck, attractively painted with a message saying ‘10,000 kms, 90 days, 20 states, Two people, One truck, Thousands of Stories, Book-on-wheels’, stationed in front of Tina’s Cafe in Gokulam, on Monday, has been attracting many book lovers. It will be open for public up to 12.30 pm on Tuesday. They will leave to Bengaluru on Tuesday afternoon and have plans to cover Karnataka and later proceed to Goa, Maharashtra and other Northern States.

Mini library
Public can visit, read, browse at the free library for the whole day and if interested can even purchase books, said Satabdi.

A majority of the books cater to the younger generation, including short stories, poems, puzzles, picture books, comics and others. Though they have found sponsors with Pan Macmillan India, Parragon, etc., most of the expenses are borne by themselves.

Satabdi said she had stationed the truck at some schools in other states and found there were no libraries, and if they had one, it was only for namesake. The number of book stores are also coming down, and soon, one will find it difficult to locate a bookstore, she said.

“Reading habit should be cultivated right from the tender age, but unfortunately, the interest of reading books has taken a back seat to playing, watching reality shows on televisions and computer games. It is high time we act,” she stressed.