Passing On a Reading Legacy

Ever since I can remember, I was fascinated by the bookcase. It stood in our family drawing room, filled with fat volumes of books that had no pictures. I knew they were my father and uncle’s books, and my childhood dream was to read all those books one day.
I would spend hours in front of the glass case, gazing enraptured at the dusty volumes within; craning my neck to gaze up at those books my short stature kept me away from. Like all kids I wanted to grow up quickly, and to my mind, hidden within those books that I could barely lift was the knowledge of a lifetime, that my parents and uncle had, and that I desired.
That one sunday a year when my parents would take all the books out to air them and dust them was probably my favorite day of the year, right next to the first day of summer vacations. I would sit next to the huge pile of books, and try to read them….or at least find one with pictures.
I was around 5 or 6 when I discovered the ‘Mystery of the Spiteful Letters’ by Enid Blyton within that pile. I was thrilled. I had already read Noddy and a few other of Blyton’s classics for children, but was yet to move on to reading her mysteries. This at least was an author I knew, and the book cover was a colourful orange with the picture of 5 kids. I wasn’t, yet, old enough to read on my own…not a novel at least, and my dad read out aloud to me. It was like a tradition. Every night before dinner he would read out to me, and together we would traverse through the written world of dreams and adventures, and I would fall asleep with the images still resonating within my mind.
That night I carried the book with me, and requested my father to read it out to me. He laughed and told me I was still too young for that book. I bristled at the suggestion, and insisted that he read it. He complied, and truthfully I did get a few nightmares for the first few nights, but I never told my parents about it, and this book started my lifelong romance with all kinds of mystery thrillers.
A few years ago, I rummaged the self-same bookcase for my first Agatha Christies.
Also I have made a few new additions to the shelves – JK Rowling, Rick Riordan, Dan Brown and Meg Cabot are just a few of the authors I have added to the rows already filled with tomes written by Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Shakespeare and other great literary giants.
This is my family’s reading legacy that has been passed down through generations to me…and yes, I am yet to finish reading ALL the books on the shelf. 

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Let’s Teleport!!

Today’s Daily Prompt says: Your local electronics store has just started selling time machines, anywhere doors, and invisibility helmets. You can only afford one. Which of these do you buy, and why?

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A nearly impossible choice in my opinion, but if I had to pick just one I think I would buy the anywhere door. I mean I would love a time machine or an invisibility helmet, but I want an anywhere door the most. As a child, one of my favourite books was ‘The Wishing Chair’ by Enid Blyton – a chair that could take you to any place you want. I always dreamt of owning it, but an anywhere door will do too.

Here are the 6 reasons I chose this product over all the others:

1. I love travelling but hate crowds or traffic. With the anywhere door I can visit the entire world in fractions of a second. I could study in Oxford, party in Las Vegas, shop in Paris, and stay at some beautiful place in the countryside, without worrying about travelling time. I can even visit exotic locales like the top of Mount Everest, or the deep recesses of the Amazon Rainforest, without breaking a sweat.

2. I would get to sleep in for longer. If I cancel out the time I spend in travelling every day, I could probably have more than an hour left on my hands. I could sleep in, watch TV, read a book, really the options are endless.

3. I would never be late for any appointment, ever. No more running in late to class, muttering hasty apologies to the professor as he glares at me with livid eyes. I would get up, get dressed and just open the door – tada! I am at college.

4. I can attend all my favourite concerts, movie premieres, book signings, fairs or any other event, even if they are happening across the globe. Shopping would be so much cooler with this – pick up bread from France, olives from Italy, milk from Gujarat and chocolates from Switzerland. The best of the entire world right at my doorstep, literally. 

5. I will never be out of touch with my friends and family. I could pop down for a visit, any time I like.

6. As the product specifies ‘anywhere’ I could even visit fictional places from books, like Hogwarts, Narnia, The Enchanted Forest, Camp Half-Blood…..the possibilities are endless. Get me my Anywhere Door already!!!

My Iconic Bureau

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The theme of this week’s writing challenge was iconic, and it set me thinking. Which object was that one icon that embodied me and all what I stand for, my journey in life up till now, and something that will probably play just as important a part in my future. The answer is my bureau. My father had it made for me the very year I joined nursery school – April 1999 –  and I have been studying on it ever since. It is just four years younger than me, and in many ways we have grown up together. It is kinda messy I admit, but still very dear to my heart, which is why I wrote this poem for it:

My desk stands old and bruised,                                                                                                        Ages have passed – or so it seems,                                                                                                     Since our first encounter. Indeed, I am                                                                                    Much changed; No more the tiny lass,                                                                                                Who needed two cushions on her chair                                                                                                    To reach the desk, where I now sit proudly.                                                                                         Only the glittering princess sticker on the side reminisces                                                                  Of those times, when I lisped through the alphabets – here, on my desk,                                Where I now recite Blake and Keats, and memorize Shakespeare.                                    Much has it endured the brunt of time – fifteen long years;                                               Much has it been moistened by many, many tears and,                                                                  Dried by the warmth of smiles and care.                                                                                            Was it not only yesterday, that I tore my hair out over number tables,                                       And fractions that gave me nightmares – now I muse over polynomials!

The stains and marks tell their own story – I beg you to listen,                                                  They are all a-clamouring to tell you their story, my story:                                                            The paint splatters are testimony to many an artwork,                                                               The canvas of my childhood has had held many masterpieces, the pride of a child’s heart! That there, the cream splotch, my mother over-worked her hands on that,                                   To remove the squiggles of a permanent marker.

The locker has in its time stored many secrets, and treasures,                                               Birthday gifts, love letters, old valentines and party-invites.                                                         Only the adhesive marks remain from my movie posters,                                                      Blackened with time; From Enid Blyton to JK Rowling,                                                                From Cinderella to Eragon, from Famous Five to Sherlock Holmes,                                                  My learned desk has read it all. It has written too,                                                                        Diaries and letters, essays and lab journals.                                                                                          The line of books replaced the parade of Barbies,                                                                     The pierre-cardin pens, my worn out crayons.                                                                                 Dull volumes succeeded the picture books, the book of rhymes by the book of poems.

My desk has been my dearest companion,                                                                                   Together we would sit and daydream, me and my darling confider.                                          Together we have traveled down the vista of years,                                                                Faced the storms and zephyrs alike; hiked over mountains and moors.                                       This wooden desk is my memoir, the legacy of my childhood,                                                        The comrade of my youth and the foundation of my future.

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This is my first attempt at writing a poem, but the subject I think is fitting. This is an ode to me desk.