Friday, December 17, 2010

growing up with books

I can identify the sharp transitions that I have had in my literary life. I don't think i could put it very well. What I mean is, how I have grown up reading books of different flavours.

I don't remember the first book I owned. Must be something which had colorful pictures in every page with little or no writing. I remember a particular series of books which i used to borrow from my Kindergarten library. It was called Peter and Jane. Ma used to sit and make me practice reading. Also there was The Enormous Turnip, Henny Penny, The Shoemaker and the Elves. All these had lots of pictures. Attractive ones!!

As  I graduated from Kindergarten, I was introduced to the Magical world of Enid Blyton. The Faraway Tree, The Barney Series, The Adventure Series.... they became my bible! I was a voracious reader! I gradually imagined myself as one of the Secret Seven or The Famous Five or The Five Find-Outers. I fell in love with Fatty (leader of the Five Find-outers). I tried writing letters with invisible ink. I tried having a secret society where you had to give a  password to enter the meetings! I wished I was in a boarding school like St. Clare's or Malory Towers!

Apart from the Enid Blytons, I read Sweet Valley kids! As I grew up to a permissible age to read Sweet Valley High or Sweet Valley University, I realized that Sweet Valleys are Sh!T...!!! I was never a Sweet Valley fan! Girls in my school were crazy about that series!! Ugghhh!!!

And gradually, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple became my bedtime stories. At times I used to stay up late and finish a book and then go to bed. Ma used to get angry at times. But the urge  to reach the last page of the book was too strong to listen to anything she said.

As I gained age and wisdom, the Secret Sevens and Rip van Winkles took their place in the top most rack of my book shelf, where you need to stand on a stool to reach out. The middle rack (the most accessible one) was furnished with The Sister of my Heart, The Glass Palace, A Princess Remembers, classics like Gone with the Wind, Emma, David Copperfield. I rearranged the books of the middle shelf and made space for The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

I was not confined only to books in English language. I ventured a lot into the world of Bengali literature too. Feluda,  Professor Shonku, Tarini Khuro and every short story that came out of the pens of Satyajit Ray was and still is my favorite. Pother Panchali, Parineeta, Ramer Shumoti, Chuti, Rajarshi... the list is endless. Books were my Best friend. In fact, my bestest friend (if that term existed)!

And today, I find myself so drained out after the day's work, that I don't get time to read. And I regret it. Always. The days when going to the Book Fair was like an annual ritual. The smell of new books was intoxicating. I miss those endless idle hours which I could spend behind those black and white letters.


P.S : There are tons of other books and writers who have been a part of  the "growing-me". So many, that I cant possible fit them all here!

1 comment:

  1. I owe this one to you and Toma. I still remember by birthday in 2004 when I got my first Famous Five - Five Go To Mystery Moor from you. This was my entry into the world of books - and I'm sure for the next 3 years that the book fair was held in Maidan, I left my parents bankrupt in the month of February each year.

    Books are an escape from the chores and bores of everyday life. All I can say is a big THANK YOU to you two for introducing me to this wonderful world!