READING ROOM AT SHEIKH SARAI
2015, Sheikh Sarai, Delhi, with 'The Community Library Project' by Mridula Koshy
The project for a reading room at Sheikh Sarai came up through an idea at the 'The Community Library project', an initiative by literary activist and author Mridula Koshy that works with marginalized neighborhoods and communities. I was working as a volunteer at this library which mainly caters to children from marginalized communities. In a discussion it came up that inside the community we were operating there were no spaces where adults could socialize, discuss or even read newspapers. Using spatial reorganisation and minimal furniture, we came up with a gathering and reading space for the adults in the community on a shoestring budget. The communal space is based on the concept of adda (a colloquial Hindi term for a gathering spot). I realised that the usual congregation spots for adults were corner tea shops and other such venues that were categorized by ephemeral materials and austere textures. I tried to bring some of these elements into the space such as the eternal mudda, a coir stool. Like the other library projects, the material used in the refurbishing came from reusing and fixing broken and disused furniture from around the site. As a result we were able to pull off redoing the space in under 300 USD which was raised internally. The space is now highly used by adults in the area and they come here to read newspapers and discuss their daily schedules..