I had always assumed that Walden was a bookstore. Well, apparently it is not. It not only stocks the regular bestsellers and coffee table books, the travel guides, the entire Enid Blyton range and even a paperback edition of Lolita, but also toys, stationary, gifts for every occasion - everything but the kitchen sink.
Almost equal amounts of floor space, thought and variety, are provided for each of the four categories of products on sale.
There are the ubiquitious Scrabble and Doctors sets as gifts for those numerous kids birthday parties, as also a chemistry set that promises to show one how to build a volcano, create acid rain, grow crystals and find a date for the weekend. Actually, they are still working on the "date for the weekend" part. Meanwhile,there are European porcelain dolls, Chinese masks and ships in glass bottles, for housewarming, weddings, going-away or any-other-kind gifting.
There are face creams, lotions, perfumes and even toothbrushes, in case you suddenly remembered you dropped yours into the toilet bowl this morning. And while the cards section is pretty exhaustive, with cards for every occasion and mood, the music corner supplied by Music World really needs to get its act together.
There are rows upon colorful rows of writing, coloring, erasing, sharpening, pasting and-what-have-you equipment made almost exclusively in Korea and China. And I now know where to look for playing cards and calligraphy sets.
The manager, a quiet, knowledgeable, mild-mannered man, has been with the company for the past 15 years, and is extremely helpful. He is more than willing to source some obscure title for you, suggest best-selling items for boys under 6 years of age and not push the candy enticingly displayed at the counter, on your kids.
While the Banjara Hills store is smaller than the flagship Begumpet
one, it hardly warrants the step-child treatement. It is unlikely that you will not find what you came in looking for - au contraire
, you may actually find more things than you came in looking for.
A great place for your gifting needs, a respectable book collection, and hallelujah, parking space. And when all is said and done - the gift-wrapping is gratis.