Drop everything and read

Ambika Shaligram
Saturday, 16 February 2019

Mayuri Kulkarni, who has started booksonthemove initiative in Pune, tells us how more and more people are getting hooked to the idea

Recently, Vrushali Telang, who has written books like Prime Time Crime and Can’t Die for Size Zero posted images of her books, which were picked up by booksonthemove’s Pune initiative.

Mayuri Kulkarni and her gang of ‘book fairies’ who are driving the initiative, are pleased to hear this. It means that the movement is spreading and so is their attempt to wean people away from their screen and bury their nose in books.

Kulkarni, an HR professional, first read about the world-wide movement online and got in touch with the original brains behind booksonthemove movement. “I got in touch with the founders who are based in US. They responded that if I wished to start with it, I should. They gave me some tips, the framework. I also got in touch with Shruti, who started the movement in New Delhi. Basically, in these cities, the books are left on public transport like the metro. This was not possible in Pune because we are not so dependent on public transport,” says Kulkarni.

To start with, she took the help of her folks, colleagues and started dropping off her books at the places that she frequented — cafes, schools, IT companies etc. She created an Instagram page @booksonthemovepune and started posting clues and hints about where the book copies had been dropped off. She and her book fairies (now in the range of 20-25 members) also did a survey of places where the titles could be dropped; if the people frequented those places were amenable to the idea and so on. 

“At first, people thought that we wanted to advertise; they took some time in understanding the concept. On our part, we wanted to ensure that the books wouldn’t be damaged. All this took time, but now it’s pretty smooth,” says Kularni.

On weekends, the book fairies, comprising homemakers, professionals and a few collge students, drop more books at designated places. On weekdays, the team manages to drop at least one copy. 

“We also have campaigns, like this month is Valentine Month so we have more romantic fare to offer. Next month, we will focus on female empowerment stories. We steer clear of books with divisive content. We don’t want to create unrest,” she adds.

The publishers too have warmed up to the idea and are keeping Kulkarni updated about new titles and authors. “Through this initiative, I got to know about many Indian writers who are producing excellent literature. More people should know about this,” she quips.

Usually, after you have read a book, you are supposed to drop off the book at another public place and inform the leader on instagram or other social media site. But that doesn’t happen. “I will be honest, a few people have passed on the book. But I think this is okay. As long as people are reading, sharing the book/s amongst their circle of friends, it’s all fine. In US, this is being done on the macro level. And it’s impossible to track all your books. All we want is a connect between the readers and publishers,” adds Kulkarni. So drop, everything and read. Follow Kulkarni and her team @booksonthemovepune on Instagram.

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