City Landmarks – Tit Bit Book Stall

An important piece of History. A destination once popular with convent students and pulp fiction readers. Tit Bit may have changed hands but the challenges remain the same. The Saddar landscape has changed. For the worse. Daudpota Road, on which Tit Bit is located is a nightmare to travel on during the day. A combination of buses, rickshaws and bikes will make your life difficult even if you are on foot. Look for the Parsi Fire Temple. The store is right beside it.

The stall is sandwhiched between Jehangir Restaurant and Parsi Fire Temple. The place is hardly bigger than the kitchen in your house. It appeared like a dark hole from the road basking in April Sunshine. There were three men in their fifties sipping chai from nearby restaurant. One of them was the owner of the shop. Salim Bhai, as he introduced himself later, is the current owner of the store. It was founded in 1944 by Mr. S.M Khalil, who moved to Karachi from India. Since then it has changed many hands and has served many generations of book lovers.

The books are stacked without any classification. The collection may disappoint you. It’s full of Robert Ludlums, John Grishams and Sidney Sheldons. Popular magazines make a large percentage of the total collection. Cooking books and Children Stories have a seperate shelf of their own. Try harder and move books here and there. You may unearth a Vikram Seth poem collection, a Virginia Wolf novel, A Khuwshwant Singh memoir or a copy of Manto short stories. Notice the square shaped flooring. Chances are that you would recall it from your childhood memories. Look up at the roof. Energy savers have replaced the old installations but good old ceiling fan is still there. It was not moving though.

“There is no light right now. It will come back by 12″

Salim Bhai meant business. He relentlessly dig down books, showing me one after another. Then he enticed me with best of his offers.

“Write down all the books you need on a paper. I will arrange it for you. Much cheaper than the market price”

He showed me a copy of The Finkler Question, the 2010 booker prize winner. It was only for 700 rupees. He had arranged it for someone. Much expensive than rest of the books in his inventory, but still cheaper than the market price. It was apparent that he could not afford keeping such expensive books. None of the books in his store were for more than 100 rupees, so it seems looking at my invoice right now.

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Categories: City Landmarks

Author:thekarachiwalla

Just another Karachi Walla

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2 Comments on “City Landmarks – Tit Bit Book Stall”

  1. Arif Khambaty
    June 6, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Used to rent comic books from the store some forty odd years ago. The running rate was 4 annas or so. Sad Sack, twitty and Sylvester, Heckle and Jeckle, Koyote and the Road Runner, Goofy, Tom and Jerry,,,the list can go on. These comic books were the rage in those days amongst the teenagers.
    Apart from this store there were a handful of much smaller shops on the mansfield street, now named syedna Muhammad Burhanuddin road.
    This site is doing its bit in archiving the lost times and the lingering memories. ThanX!

  2. Sumaira Shafqat Jamil
    December 11, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    You are correct about the Convent girls frequenting this book shop. School books and stationery from Razzak book depot, Art supplies from Bamboat and leisure reading from Tit Bit. Moms would be buying monthly groceries from the wholesale stores across the road! Thanks for this post. Nostalgia!

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