Although I knew he was unwell for a long time, this still shocked the hell out of me. I have been an admirer of Mr. Shanbag since I first heard of the Strand Book Sale at Sunderbai Hall, back in school. For a bookworm like me, it was paradise! Rows upon rows of beautiful books at unbelievable prices! I made it a point to go to every one of them in Bombay, for the last ten years, save one. Even to the tiny ones near Kaifi Azmi.
Whatever I knew of the man, I read in newspapers and on the Internet. I am not going to repeat all that he has done for booklovers in Bombay, and elsewhere. If you dont know, well, you ought to. Even in absentia, he became one of the very few people I respect, admire, look up to. Only once did I see him; in his bookstore, wandering and talking to visitors. There was something about him, strong, confident, and gentle, which was so awe-inspiring I simply couldn't go up to him. To this day, and forever, it shall remain something I regret.
I shall truly miss you, Mr. Shanbag; it feels like I lost someone real close.
May you rest in peace, Mr. Shanbag.