A barber in India has a library and gives customers 30% off if they read a book in his unique salon.
Deprived of a good education, P Ponmariappan, a hairdresser at Millerpuram in Tuticorin, is determined to ensure that youth inculcate the habit of reading. In the saloon he set up after he dropped out of school, he has a collection of over 800 books and offers a 30% discount to customers who read the books and provide genuine feedback.
Ponmariappan, 38, could not study beyond Class VIII due to poverty. But his thirst for knowledge made him set up an audio system in his shop, in which he played speeches by renowned Tamil orators, including Sugi Sivam, Nellai Kannan, Tamilaruvi Manian, and Bharathi Baskar. He cultivated the habit of reading books and it was after reading ‘Puthagamae Thunai’ (the book is a good companion) that he got the idea of collecting books and displaying them in his shop.
To ensure that the students read at least a few pages of a book, he makes them write the gist of what they have read in a small book he keeps in his shop. “This encourages others to read the same book,’’ he said. Ponmariappan set up his collection six years ago with 250 books; now he has about 850 books, mostly Tamil and a few autobiographies of great leaders in English.