Name of the Organisation: Walking Bookfairs, Bhubaneswar
Written by: Jasmine Jena
With numerous food trucks, new restaurants emerging at every nook and corner of the city, imagine spotting a truck filled with books for you to read. Surprising right?
On realising the sudden decline on the concept of reading books and the lack of bookstores and libraries across the country Akshay Rautaray and Satabdi Mishra left their respective jobs and set out on a mission to restore the importance of reading books for the betterment of self and society. There are millions of people in this country who still haven’t seen or touched a book in their lifetime due to lack of access. These people are the inspiration behind Walking Bookfairs.
“Our mission is totake books to more people Everywhere” - Walking Bookfairs
In 2014, the pair set off by taking as many books as they could in their backpacks and travelled to the remote and untouched places across the state where people barely had any idea about books. They laid the books on the pavement for people to see, touch, and read. The overwhelming response triggered them to set out for more ventures by turning into a travelling bookstore with the help of their book-truck which they bought by pulling off their savings and with the help of some of their friends.
They journeyed thousands of kilometres in their book-vehicle promoting the need to read more books where people could read books for free, share and buy them at a discount.
In 2015, the pair became a proud owner of an independent bookstore and library situated in Bhubaneswar, that runs on solar power, where people can visit, share their ideas and browse books across all the genres in English, Odia, Hindi and the Children’s section.
Walking Bookfairs Bookstore and Library also provides a free community space where in-house events such as Book Readings, Book Discussions, Open Mics, Poetry Readings are held at regular stretches.
In 2015, Walking Bookfairs embarked on a tour titled ‘Read More India’ where they travelled around 10,000 kilometres across 20 states carrying around 4000 books in their book-truck meeting new people, book lovers, novice book readers.
The tour was followed by another one in 2018, where the pair set out on a trip titled ‘Poems on the Road’ where they travelled 10,000 kilometres on their book-truck across 30 cities of 20 states motivating people to read more poetry.
Walking Bookfairs believes reading more books will bring a positive change in the perception of people which is extremely necessary for the amelioration of the world. Akshay and Satabdi are one of the few people who broke down the stereotypes and took the road that’s often questioned about but rarely taken. Their inspiring journey over the last couple of years has set a path for many others who aspire to do what they desire and strengthens the spirit and sanctity of reading books.