World Book Day! I had planned to write something about it but I was busy indulging in the act of reading one. ( Do read Calling Sehmat…its a wonderful book by Harinder Sikka )
Books, especially English language drew me to itself from the very early stages of my life. The first travel imaginary escapade I had was through the quintessential Childcraft books, which had everything. Poems, limericks,travel tales, stories from across continents, cultural and lifestyle details, pages and pages about exotic foods and accommodations ranging from barges to floating huts. What an exposure it was for a teeny child who was filled with curiosity, wonder and awe !
I remember being perched atop on the washing machine kept out on the verandah at my Granny’s, arming myself with a few snacks, a few books and away I was at it for hours. I pretended it was my own personal castle, where no-one would disturb me as I traveled to exotic landscapes, devouring fancy foods, laughed and played on lush green fields, and experienced the giddy feeling of being lost in love.
It was the foreign element of language and the scenery it put in front of my eyes which appealed to me the most. How enthralling and liberating was it to read about the adventures of Nancy Drew, to imagine the taste of scones, puddings and tiny tea cakes in adventures of The Famous Five, where the little children determinedly involved themselves in exciting escapades and going off on living in tiny perfectly functioning caravans.
Then came the magical world of Harry Potter. And magic it was. During my school days, it was ‘the craze’ amongst the book lovers, the entire school gushed about it. Harry Potter transported me to the world of loyalty, courage, it gave me hope, made me laugh, showed what friendship is and to always believe in oneself.
There are so many books which made an impact and the curious soul in me got more and more drawn to this magical world where you could explore cultures, traditions, languages, foods and behaviors without spending a dime! It was a childhood dream to visit England to just experience my childhood escapades in reality, and it will continue as an unfulfilled desire…
It is what got me into pursuing BA in English in the first place. I was doggedly determined to improve my English. With very less scope to venture out of the country for education, the only way was total immersion into classics. And I loved every bit of it from my heart. Jane Austen transfixed me in Pride and Prejudice, while Charlotte Bronte blew my mind away in Jane Eyre. The Victorian era influence, their manners, their thoughts, the witty repartee, as always fascinated the child in me. I did wish that I was born in that era in England.
Fantasy helped a lot in escaping from the reality a while,especially during turbulent times. Lord of the Rings proved to be a tedious read in 9th std but it was worth every ounce of time spent. I got extremely attached to reading Game of Thrones long before the series was made. The characters, always were the elements which made it so hard to move on after.
The characters could speak out to me, It was a strange feeling, as if I could feel their every emotion. The rush of excitement, the thrill of adventure, their embarrassment in situations, their predicament in do or die moments, the guilt, the passions, their secrets all of it. I cried when Dumbledore died, felt the anguish and pain of Karna, the love draupadi felt for Karna, the subtle jealously of Arwen in Lotr, warmth and fuzzy when Jane got married to Mr. Rochester, a strong empathy on reading Sylvia Plath, a deep unseated desperation to be free from prison in Papillion, that passionate excitement when Elizabeth confronts Mr.Darcy out on the porch on a rainy day.
As I always keep dreaming about owning big tall wooden shelves for my adventures, because, they really made me who I am today. They gave me inspiration to further explore this world at any means possible..for they helped a little girl perched atop a washing machine, age 10, to let go and dream about anything she wants her world to be 🙂