Idling on the footsteps of my parents home, I was enjoying the sight of the squirrels running up and down the coconut tree and on to the compound wall. Once it ran out of sight, I leaned back on the wall and found the copy of the book “The secret of the Nagas” lying on the table. I had picked it up from my local library more than 2 weeks ago, had lots of freetime to read but no inclination. Whatever happened to my reading habit? My Mind wandered to the days when I devoured books. There was not a day that passed by without reading books(not the academics) but the story book. A voracious reader who read books from the lending library or my own personal ones. How I devoured the fairy tales, ACK,s Tinkles, TinTin, Champak, chandamama, gokulam, Pickwick papers and later graduated to Robin cook, Sidney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer, Perry Mason, Dale Carnegie and more. Cuddling my legs under the cover on my bed, sitting on the footsteps of my home, under the gooseberry tree , during those lonely train travels or under the study table light. How many times amma’s calls have fell on my deaf ears, how many times I have forgotten to lock the door after her, or switch off the gas despite instructions. All because I was travelling with Thumbelina, TomSawyer or because I was with Tracy Whitney. Reading - that habit which helped me travel to unknown places, transformed mundane incidents and objects into the confines of magical landscape and added new words to my vocabulary. When the dictionary was not at hand, each new word lent its own meaning and many a times I tried to decipher them contextually. When story books ran out of hand, it would be any magazine like the illustrated weekly, Alive, Femina, Sputnik, ‘Science today’, Savvy or India today which gave me company. These magazines which inspired me to write to them on many matters and … Boy! How I was thrilled to see my name on ‘Science today’ and my thatha proudly flaunted it to everyone in the extended family during a function. Seeing the joy of my name on the book, encouraged me to write to many books, most of which were unpublished. If magazines were not on hand, then it was the newspaper“Deccan Herald”. It was this newspaper which introduced me to many synonyms, acronyms and anagrams through its cross word. Not a day passed, when I and my childhood friend Shammi put our heads to solve the crossword puzzle completely. And not to forget “The Hindu”- a newspaper which initiated me into the art of reading during my early school days. Although it was the obituary column, engagements this week, movie and TV schedules which held my attention. Now that’s not all, I would’nt spare any book in the lounge of the hotel, dentist or for that matter any written word or paper which morphed as a food parcel or provision wrapping. Later of course, my interest shifted to philosophical and spiritual ones like Robin Sharma, The voice of God by the sage of Kanchi( deivathhin kural in tamil) and Biographies of Bhutto,Jack Welch, Lee Iacoca, Akio Morito, Kalam and the last book I read was “The man who knew infinity”(Srinivas Ramanujam) and that was some three years ago. This habit which helped me to win many a quiz contests, quenched my thirst for strung words, helped me to travel to many places, added knowledge to my mediocre brain has slowly waned.
So has my affair with strung words ended........... No....
Strung words do affect me but only now it is more on a flickering screen.
P.S: Anybody aware of Brahma's temple with Brahma as the main deity, other than the one at Pushkar?
Let me know in the comments section( but no googling)