It is said ‘Books are your best friend’ and I do second that quote because for me books has always been a friend whom I could depend on anytime anywhere. Some people have their 2 am friends and 4 a.m. friend for me it has been one or the other book who has given me company during such times. I always have a book ready for every situation or every mood of mine. I was not an avid reader but the day I got introduced to the magic of friendship with books I promised myself to stick to them forever.
It all started at a very early age in my case, maybe when I was in fifth standard by my brother. The first book I laid my hands was on Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ series. Then I explored other teen detective series like ‘The Secret Seven’, ‘The Hardy Boys’ and ‘Nancy Drew’. I still remember how along with my friends from our society I started snooping around houses and lonely buildings to catch hold of some mystery or case and become detectives like the Famous Five kids. When I think about those days I still sit and laugh. I still remember we got a bottle of white pills lying outside the window of a lonely house and I wore gloves to pick up that bottle suspecting it to be drugs and assuming that this place might be used by drug peddlers or drug addicts to conduct their criminal activities. I along with my friends used to take turns to keep a watch on that house only to be bitten by a stray dog.
When I grew older I preferred more fun based books like Ruskin Bond series, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn Adventures, Malgudi Days and Swami. The easy flow of words always caught my attention and always transported me to a different world where I could actually visualize these characters and situations. My growing up days was full of Fairies, Ogres, Goblins, Detectives, and Mysteries etc. I often wondered if I could write something similar to those stories which I loved reading. Maybe the germ of becoming a writer took roots in those growing up days and I can say that with confidence after seeing those innumerous diaries that I wrote during those days.
Then came a phase in my life when I preferred only English Classics like Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austin series, Shakespeare etc and I always wondered how the era would be when these books were written. I explored more about the era from history books and encyclopaedia.
As I started going to college more mature stuff started attracting my eyes and I started stocking more and more books which were ultimately sold off by my mother one day to a ‘raddiwala’ because she never knew the importance of those books in my life. Today I do have a small library of my own which has been plundered several times by my so called friends who always fail to return the books they borrow from me. I don’t blame them because books definitely have a magic of its own which prompts you to do so.
Every stage of my life was influenced by some book or the other. Like when I read ‘The Pastor’s Wife’ I was drawn towards the protagonist’s trauma and pain in a socialist country like Russia. I could imagine the pain felt by the Pastor and his wife who were kept captive in Jail for smuggling a ‘Bible’ to Russia. I could feel the torture they went through for sticking to Jesus and for worshiping the Almighty.
Apart from ‘The Pastor’s Wife’ the book that really shook me out was Khalid Hosseni’s ‘The Kite Runner’ a very emotional personal saga of the author. His growing up days in Afghanistan and how he betrayed his best friend who for him got brutally raped and abused by other bully’s in their locality. The story still brings goose bumps to me whenever I read it. Same was the case with ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by the same author. The emotional drama of two women connected by one man married to them and their struggle to keep eachother happy under difficult situations was something that really touched my heart. Books like these are rare and so they are special.
Every book has a story to tell and every reader has a story to remember, like me. Hope the saga continues till I lie down to rest forever.