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I remember the feeling.
Of walking across the road with my hand held in the firm grip of my mother’s.
I was as euphoric as flying to the moon.
I was going to buy my first book.
Oh, what a grown-up feeling it was.
My mother, a voracious reader herself, announced the moment she came from office. “Let us buy you a book today,” she said. And poor her, there was not a moment of peace after that. Jumping up and down with excitement, I begged her to take me that very minute. “At least, let me have my tea,” she said.
How could she sit and have a cup of tea when I just wanted to jump across the road to Natraj Book Centre, right across our home. But I had no option. Impatiently, I waited and she had to gulp the tea down seeing my restlessness.
Hand in hand, my mother and me crossed the road across to the book store feeling oh-so smug and important. And what a feast it was to the eyes of a 10-year old. Rows and rows of books, beckoning, inviting.
So which book should I read? An Enid Blyton of course.
My generation was born and bred on Enid Blyton. The master author churning out books of all genres. The Famous Five. The Secret Seven. The Five Find outers, The Naughtiest Girl, and what not. She was our magic escape from reality. The one we devoured during holidays.
And when we grew up, there were other famous series by other authors: Hardy Boys, the Nancy Drew’s and comics of Mandrake (the mansion of Xanadu) , Phantom and Richie Rich (the poor little rich boy). Life was simpler, reading uncomplicated.
So back to the book store, where I was standing wide-eyed and wondrous at the new world in front of me. After a lot of serious discussions with mom and both of us perusing the back cover for details, I finally zeroed on.
‘The children of the cherry tree farm’
Honestly, I do not remember much of the book. But I remember the sense of pride and ownership I felt when I crossed the road back. Clutching the book under my arm, refusing to let go, head high to being graduated as a book owner. I just could not wait to reach the sanctuary of my home and pen down my name on the first page of the book to stamp my ownership of the same.
I went excitedly to my dad and brother showing off my prized acquisiton. Born into a family of voracious readers, I was just following a lineage, which I was lucky to be blessed with.
I experience the same sense of happiness when, today I see any young kid in a bookstore pestering their parents to buy them books. In today’s digital world, where everything is just a click away and temptations so many on the phone, it must be a super task to inculcate reading habits into children.
For me, it is life come to a full circle, when my daughter are lounging about with books in their hand. Cause, who can resist the power of the written?
A communications professional, passionately interested in books and a writer at heart.
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