BENGALURU: Bibliophiles in the city probably know Tipu Waseem Pasha as the person who sold books for throwaway prices at his second-hand store in Jayanagar 4th Block.
After the building Book Bonanza was located in was pulled down, Tipu started selling books online to make a living and finance his pet hobby — acquiring collectibles.
Cartons of books, comics and dictionaries are haphazardly strewn about in the Book Bonanza godown in Jayanagar 1st Block. “These are the collectibles that my 4,000-sq ft library at home cannot hold,” he says.
Pasha says he has close to 6,000 comic books, 5,000 dictionaries and 3,000 first edition books and some manuscripts. One book, James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson published in the latter half of the 18th century, has been the worse wear, having fallen prey to bookworms.
“I dust the books with a powder every two days to keep bookworms away, and sometimes even use a spray,” he says. Keeping rats and other rodents out is another challenge, he adds.
Pasha’s dictionary collection includes old editions, some over 100 years old. “I have dictionaries of various languages — German, French — and pertaining to various subjects — botany, medicine, history, science, anything under the sun really,” he says animatedly.
Many of the comics are enclosed in transparent plastic cover. “They don’t have dates on them, but they are all back issues of DC, Diamond, Amar Chitra Katha, Gotham, Asterix...Some of the Spiderman issues, you’ll be surprised to find, have been printed in Indiranagar,” he says.
Pasha started collecting these, and even rare coins and stamps, when he was 10. “Basically, I’m a hoarder,” he says. “I even have wrapping paper and old pens used by my grandparents. When I first started, people thought I was wasting time and money on a strange hobby.”
The most he has spent on a single article, James Boswell’s book, is Rs 50,000, the amount that goes into maintaining his collection every month, he says.
While articles of historical value fascinate him, he realises the prudence in investing in ones that don’t go as far back. “Autographed first editions of books, as and when they are launched, go into my collection,” he says. “In all, I have 15 lakh books, across genres.”
Vishaka Srinath, a former journalist whom he married 10 months ago, is helping him get his collectibles assessed, shipping them to Asiatic Society in London. “She’s helping me with the online correspondence,” he says. “And we’re planning to start cataloguing it.”
He doesn’t part with his collection. “I am very attached to each collectible. Kids, other collectors and even celebrities drop by and go through them. I want to open a gallery so anyone can access the collections, hopefully in a couple of years,” Pasha says.