“Browsing for books and reading are such meditative practices.”

These are the words of Justice DY Chandrachud of the Supreme Court of India, who, in the course of his prolific law career, has authored several notable judgments on affirmative action in the country. Yet despite his limited free time, Justice Chandrachud remains a dedicated bibliophile. He also counts the quaintly-named independent bookstore Wayword & Wise amongst his favourite haunts in South Mumbai.

During a telephone interview on a quiet, breezy Sunday afternoon, the judge narrated pleasant anecdotes from his past visits to the city’s much-loved book shop, most of them involving its astonishingly well-read former curator, Virat Chandok. When Chandok learnt the judge had enjoyed one of his previous recommendations – neurosurgeon Henry Marsh’s famed memoir Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery – he immediately handed him Marsh’s lesser-known but brilliant Admissions: A Life In Brain Surgery.

The book is a moving personal commentary on the doctor’s case studies, which commingle with his own reflections and emotions. Chandrachud says he will always be grateful to Chandok for introducing him to one of his most cherished reads of all time.

How (and why) the bookstore was born

Wayword & Wise was born five years ago with a promise...

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