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Kerala brings classic books on board in boat journey

Passengers in the boat plying between Muhamma and Kumarakom in Kerala enjoying books provided during the journey

It is a boat with a difference and the journey is unlike the usual one. Kerala State Water Transport Department’s (KSWTD) S52 which ferries people between Muhamma in Alappuzha district and Kumarakom in Kottayam district has a library stocked with interesting and engaging books which is provided to passengers to read during their journey.

S52 has the singular distinction of being the first boat in Kerala which has a library.

Interestingly, the library has been set up by the National Service Scheme’s unit of Aryakkara Bhagavathi Vilasom Higher Secondary School located in Muhamma.

The floating library as it is referred to is stocked with more than 300 books in Malayalam and English. Among the noted writers whose books are included are Vaikkom Mohammed Bashir, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, M T Vasudevan Nair, Paulo Coelho and other reputed authors from Kerala and world over.

There more than 300 books in Malayalam and English are offered to the passengers for reading

It was the school which approached the KSWTD with the idea of providing books to the passengers and it was readily accepted by the transport undertaking.

Sharing details, Shaji V. Nair, Director KSWTD told India Narrative: “Most of the daily passengers are office-goers and students and they find the journey boring and dreary. They spend their time viewing their mobiles while others keep looking at the waters. So when this idea was mooted we accepted it to help passengers to catch up reading and use their time productively.”

Talking to the media, A.V. Vinod, the NSS coordinator of the school, said: “Muhamma-Kumarakom is one of the busiest boat routes in the State. We had discussed the idea of starting a library with a few commuters and they wholeheartedly welcomed it.”

He added the aim was to inculcate the habit of reading among people. “Passengers in the boat currently pass time by looking at their smartphones. The books in the library will popularise reading among them.”

To complete a one-way journey takes 40 minutes and a passenger is able to complete a book in one or two weeks. On reaching their destination the passengers have to return the books.

All the books in the ship have been donated by students, parents and teachers of the school as well as local residents. Impressed by the idea many also gave new books.

A number of commuters have described the move as “pathbreaking” and want it be introduced in other boats. Nair also informed India Narrative that soon another boat – S55 – sailing on the same route will also have a library.