Leaping Windows was an online only comic-book library when it launched in 2010. The website had almost 2,000 books, categorised into genres such as action and adventure, humour and fantasy. Back then, the website explained, the owners had envisioned a physical space with crammed bookshelves, beanbags and coffee, but “on a shoestring budget, we soon realised that the only space we could afford was on the internet”.
Nearly two years later, Leaping Windows has jumped out of cyberspace and onto a lane in Andheri (W). The floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are there, so is the coffee. There are no beanbags but there are some comfy futons. The crowds aren’t there yet – the place is no competition for the hep cafes along Jai Prakash Road – but the place is perfect for those who enjoy getting lost in the pages of a graphic Joe Sacco novel or an action-packed Calvin and Hobbes adventure. Here's why:
A three-month membership costs R1,800 which includes a one-time registration fee of R300. That is roughly the price of one imported hard-bound comic book. You can also request a delivery and pick-up. Without a membership, for R30 an hour, you can read their entire collection in the lower-level reading room. There’s also free Wi-Fi and cheap food. We tried a chocolatey coldcoffee (Aztec Cold Coffee, R90) which went really well with a John Constantine book by Ian Rankin. The non-veg club sandwich ( R110) stuffed with bacon, salami, lettuce and a fried egg made for a nice little lunch.
There is peace here despite the Andheri address. The airconditioned reading room is not too brightly lit – which adds to the calm – but there are reading lamps for those who want them. There was no piped music, so we could clearly listen to the Indiana Jones theme in our head while reading that omnibus.
It’s updated every month.
Co-founder Utsa Shome said they try and get at least 10 to 15 new books every month. “Our members often make special requests,” said Shome, adding that some visitors have also offered to donate old comics. The borrowed ones are, of course, missing from the shelves but there is still enough to keep you occupied for the afternoon.
By Aditya Kundalkar on April 27 2012 4.30am
Photos by Parikshit Rao