Ram Advani in among the shelves of his popular bookstore.
Lucknow, India ©Tom Pietrasik 2009
While working on an assignment earlier this month I was lucky enough to visit the Ram Advani bookstore in Lucknow. Situated in the corner of a large art-deco building that was once home to a cinema, this literary oasis is a gathering place for anyone who enjoys browsing for a good read. There is no attached Starbucks and the store is rather cramped but visiting authors, journalists and academics are among those who pop in for a reminder of Lucknow’s celebrated cultural heritage – much of it sadly lost during the India-Pakistan Partition of 1947. I was only at the Ram Advani bookstore for an hour or so but during that time authors Saleem Kidwai, Basharat Peer and Patrick French dropped in. Here is Ram Advani himself, about to chase up a book distributor for failing to make a delivery on time.