The May sun it shined. Rumble of colonial fans were distributing cool air in the big hall. All around it smelled of sweat, and in the front desk area, about five of them, middle aged to elderly women sat in a group chatting. One turns her head unemotionally as she tells the gentleman –
"You get mamber-ship forms outside.”
The rains were delayed when September came. The monsoons had made the Town Hall library moist, and the front desk drenched because the roof leaked. The place smelled of nice decay. The Library staff arrived late because the flood waters had logged in the city. To them, the permanency of this permanent job and this shelter has always been a relief. Also, the gentleman is roaming in the library looking at some shelves. I notice him buying membership forms again - two this time.
January - the cold wind from north and the summers of the Arid west, seems are scuffling for their rights in the city. A kid in his early twenties just asked about becoming a member. As always, I told him – “Outside” - it seems he purchased two forms.
A month has gone by. The gentleman passes the front desk, smiling at me, and the kid comes to me with his question. I say, “Why a doctor you got it signed from? It has to be a government officer or a college professor’s signature. And who seal is this? Ok, I will make it work. Got xerox proof of your address? ”
“No, I did not know I had to get one.”
“Ok! Go back, and come next time with sign photocopies. No mamber-ship until then.”
March is pleasant. Only, some gentleman sneezed loud at the far end. Must be the dust, it is all over the shelves.
“Hm, seems all done. A hundred twenty rupees. Hey, why don’t you begin your membership with a new financial year? Looky, if you want a mamber-ship now, you uselessly pay for a whole year when it is ending. Know what I mean? Can you come in April?”