Nostalgia is probably one of the biggest signs that you’re getting old. I feel old today, as I think about Landmark shutting down. I don’t even know if I’m allowed to feel this way, because I’m not from Chennai and Landmark wasn’t THE bookstore of my childhood. And yet, in the same way that Chennai has never been my hometown but was still my home, Landmark isn’t the bookstore I went to the most often but it was still the place that nurtured two of my hobbies, reading and trivia.
It was one of the main stops during every trip I made to Chennai. Even though there were other stores closer to home, I still had to stop by Landmark, just because. It was one of those places that my grandfather took me to, as surely as we would go to Vandalur Zoo when I was a kid, or Eden for lunch when I was older. It was also the home for the Independence Day quiz, when trivia buffs all over India would show up at Chennai to try and win that coveted prize. I haven’t been in Chennai in August very much, but whenever I was, I’ve been at the Landmark quiz. I wasn’t a serious quizzer, so I never got as far as the finals but just watching the quiz was an experience in itself. I don’t know if I will ever be in Chennai in August again, but I do know that if I am, it will be weird knowing that there’s no Landmark quiz to go to. Just like I know that I can buy every book I think of online, on Flipkart or Amazon, but I still cling to paper books.
I now wish I’d stopped by Landmark the last time I was in Chennai, in December. I ended up going to Odyssey only because it was closer, and I didn’t have much time. I now feel like I missed witnessing the end of an era. Like I said, nostalgia is a sign of age – and yes, I feel old. Landmark is going to shut down, and I my kids will probably never understand why I feel the way I do about paper books.