This time for the person of interest column, The Beacon caught up with Mr. Motwani who has been working at the Oxford book store for the past 67 years.
Q. When did you begin your career at the Oxford bookstore?
A. I began my career with the oxford bookstore just a year after independence in 1948. I was just 19 years old then.
Q. So tell us about your journey. How have things changed in all these years?
A. Well, back then reading was a foreign concept and the bookstore used to be a lending library as well, of course we have stopped that service now. We even used to keep technical and educational books at the library but then again those are things of the past. India has picked up mainstream book-reading only off late.
Q. What has been your work profile at the book store all these years?
A. Technically, I am Advisor/Consultant at the bookstore but to put it simply, my job is to procure quality books and increase the footfall of readers at the store.
Q. In the post-independence era of developing economies and vivid job opportunities, what was your motivation to come to the very same workplace for 65 long years?
A. Well, the store and its surroundings have kept on changing with time. For instance, the bookstore had multi-level bookshelves like that of an antiquated library, and ladders were required to access the shelves. Park street has changed in ways more than one, my office here which used to be surrounded by huts and wilderness is today the most influential and expensive place in the city.
Q. Still, 65 years? That is almost equivalent to a standard human life-span.
A. I have practically witnessed the neo-modern Indian literature grow from scratch which is pretty much be the dream of every literary scholar, so that has worked for me.
Q. Being surrounded by all sorts of books, tell us what genres are you yourself prejudiced towards?
A. In my leisure time I generally prefer reading books on the light side of philosophy
Q. So how is life now? 83 and still working.
A. I live near New Market and still walk to work everyday. My grandchildren like reading too, and drop by occasionally.