The Original oxford Bookstore closed before I could write about it. But now it had reopened. I was as excited to see that Oxford Bookstore had reopened as I was sad to see it close down in Statesman House. But my excitement lasted only till the moment I entered the doors. At the door, are neon signs in multiple languages and I got the first inkling that this is not going to be the Oxford of the old I fell in love with and I was right. The entire store had stark white walls with a bright white glow light coming from a mysterious source almost implying an extra-terrestrial presence. The alcove at the entry had coffee table books about India and then you enter the main area. The sections were all there : Indian fiction, International fiction, business, food, you know the deal. In front of the bookshelves were charming little carts on wheels ( like vegetable vendor carts) which held special collections for example the cart in front of the international fiction shelves held Nobel winners. I liked the idea of bringing out a certain part of the collection this way. There was also a play/reading area for children which looked inviting and I am hoping they will hold regular events for kids. In the middle of the huge main area runs a big wall shelf with coffee table books on one side and all things bookish on the other: merchandise from Playclan, stationery items, Oxford bookstore mugs, bags and also (funnily) incense. The coffee table books were great to flip through and there was also a moderately extensive collection of magazines. There were a whole rotating thingamajik with cute little cards and envelopes- just the thing you need to write a message to go with a book you are gifting. The International fiction collection wasn't something I would complain about but many staples were missing and they didn't seem to have many new releases.
The delightfully named Cha bar (the other half of the bookstore-cafe couple) has been turned into a minimalistic cafe - all black and white. Though it didn't look anything like its previous version, I still remembered the horrible coffee I had the last time and didn't try anything this time. Now the name "Cha bar" feels even more unsuited for the cafe.
Though the old Oxford bookstore didn't boast of a line-up of hard to find books or new treasures to discover, it made up by being a place you could lose yourself in. The first time I went there they were playing soft instrumental old Bollywood music and I just roamed around in the shelves, hidden from view, busy pretending it's just me and the books. Though the store is huge, it has lost the intimate cozy feeling of a great bookstore. I say increase the books and decrease the empty space. I miss the old Oxford Book store but hey we need all the bookstores we can get so, Welcome Aboard Oxford!
P.S. A word of caution. Do not get scared by the uniforms of the sales people. Gently turn away your eyes and fix them on a soothing book cover to recover form exposure to the uniform colors and pattern.