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Friday, March 28, 2014

Reading... An Enigma, My Mystery!

Reading was something, I have always enjoyed. So, today I want to share with you how the reading habit actually began. It was my father, who at that time was a voracious reader, my mother who enjoyed a few books, and my grandmother who would read anything I brought home.

What did I read? I will never forget the time I walked into that store. It was the 23rd of May 1988 around 7 pm. I remember exactly where it was, and how it was built and the wonderful stuff it contained. Books…The children’s books were upstairs and I was led there by my father. He left me there and walked off to pick up a few books for himself. 

So, there I was, browsing at the store, picking up a book or two. And what did I find? My first Enid Blyton! The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat. I bought it because I loved the cover. It had two girls and three boys, plus a dog and a cat, all in a garden with pink roses and a wooden room and green hills in the distance. I loved the first girl’s haircut, (noticed it was a little like mine) short hair and playing with boys. Since I was a tomboy at the age, it fit right into my bookshelf.

The story was simple. It spoke of the Five Find-Outers and Buster their dog, who are all set to find a Siamese cat, which was missing. Mr Goon is the errant policeman and the troublemaker in this piece. How the five of them manage to find the thief, and save their friend, Luke forms this 126-page story.

After this trip to the book store, I never looked back. I had discovered my love for reading. Of course, I had read a lot of comics before that, after school, I would come home and hit the ‘comics’. The number of Tinkles and the Amar Chitra Kathas at home are proof of that. I would wait for my father to get home and hand me a few comics. I had a cousin, who used to hide her comics because she would feel that I would finish them up, instead of playing.

Through these mystery series, I also discovered other Enid Blyton books, one of which I must mention. ‘Famous Five’ mysteries had a whole new impact on me. I was absolutely in awe of George. I think the short haircut had come into play, a lot more by then and I was thinking I was a little like her, as well. The boisterous and naughty kid, that I was (Also, not helped by the fact that I was an only child, like George) and loved climbing trees, too. It is no wonder that I had taken to books, in a big way, because I felt like I was reading a bit of myself.

I then moved forward into the Carolyn Keene series, which were the Nancy Drew Mysteries. We had another George, again she had short hair and again she had tomboyish streak to her. She was Nancy Drew’s best friend and the book, I first got was ‘The Moonstone Castle Mystery’.

In it, Nancy receives a moonstone as a gift from an unknown person. This leads her
into a place called Deep River, where she must find out what happened to the Bowen’s granddaughter, Joanie Horton. She goes to the place with Bess and George, to find out about the mystery.

Most of these books later, another children’s book, I came across was JK Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’. Though I was not that young, Harry took me away into another fantasy driven world. It did not help that Harry Potter and JK Rowling were both born on 31st July, just a day before my birthday. You should have seen my excitement, when I found that out.

I started with the second one, ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’. In this book,
the plot follows Harry’s life at Hogwarts. He is in his second year, where he must follow the messages, which lead him into the Chamber of Secrets and in the way of the heir of the Slytherin. He does this with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, his two best friends.

What these books did to me was a mystery. They got me to be a tomboy, and best of all, a book lover. Since it started with comics, it has not ended even today. I could read the ACK and Tinkle comics even today with the same enthusiasm and I could still pick up a Famous Five and go through George’s huffs and still read a Harry Potter to discover the same enigmatic thrill, which he showed.

So, lead on… ye Book Writer, Reader and Lover… :)

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