(Source: Trivandrum City Express, The New Indian Express- 19/12/2007)

                 Zombies walk around in torn clothes with half-ripped pages sticking out of their mouths and pockets; crumpled rectangular laminated cards with letters and numbers are wedged clumsily into the back of their skulls; the zombies have their hands frozen in a strange position, almost as if they are holding a couple of invisible bricks close to their chest; on listening close to their monotonous mumblings it becomes clear that half of them are chanting “issue” and the other half “return”. That’s the kind of existence that the current members of the British Library, Trivandrum are worried of leading post February 2008.
                True lovers of the Library deal with their imminent loss in different ways. Some have completely given up their social lives and decided to spend the last couple of months wistfully smelling the insides of the books they have presently borrowed not even caring if there are fossils of bugs stamped onto the pages; others consume a year’s supply of coffee in an attempt to read as many books as they can before their world ends; certain more driven members have taken it upon themselves to reverse the decision of the British Council to shut down the library fully believing in Napoleon’s quote about nothing being impossible..
                Literature aficionados in Trivandrum fear if names like Shakespeare, Dickens, Woolf, Hardy, and Joyce amongst many others would not have the same impact in their children’s world of knowledge as it did in theirs and be reduced to mere screen names used in role playing computer games, not because it means anything to them but for the fact that they sound strange and catchy. Academicians feel more cheated than they would if they found out their spouses are unfaithful. The kids who had somehow managed to tear themselves away from their computers and found a unique pleasure in spending time at the Library now feel disillusioned and disenchanted.
               The situation is quite amusing and on some levels even strangely ironic. For about a century or more, a strong majority of our entire country headed by the most persuasive individuals we had to offer tried to get the British to leave our land. And now, sixty years later, in the most literate state in India, large groups of people are trying even harder to get the British, or at least a part of them, to stay on. It would undoubtedly be a strong blow to the booklovers of Trivandrum if the fate of the British Library cannot be reversed. However, that doesn’t have to necessarily spell the end of our love for reading. There are other fish in the sea. Perhaps not as big and culturally rich, but fish nevertheless. Besides, if push comes to shove we can always resort to putting forth a threat to the generous country of Britain. If the British Library doesn’t stay on, we take back Shilpa Shetty. Well, maybe not.

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