Time to reclaim some grey matter from the clutches of age induced decadence. So every once in a while I’ll be engaging in a little blast from the past to try and hold on to some precious memory before it’s relegated to the recycle bin of my mind.
The paperback copies of ‘A Journey to the Center of the Earth’ & ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’ were the two very first books I read that piqued my interest in the novel format ( for the ADD/ADHD type I am I read both of them at the same time alternating between chapters); before these it was a staple diet of tinkle, champak, chandamama, Archie’s, gokulam, diamond comics (chacha choudary and trio), nagraj/captain dhruv/ doga/ mandrake/ phantom/ Jumbo the Robot/ loads of comics (I read all these comics in Hindi as I had access to them only in that language; helped me get top marks in Hindi latter on though ) and that great Target Magazine [as I type this out I am smiling in nostalgia]
A little bit of history here. I used to stammer a bit as a kid and was very bad at English comprehension (not that I am very good now maybe marginally better) and had loads of issues regarding stage fright. I read both these books cover to cover and proudly told dad of my accomplishment. For the critic that he is; he ordered me to explain the Journey to the Center of the Earth verbally to him and my peevish elder brother.
I began to talk and act out the book and did so for the next one hour at the end of which my dad hugged me and said “ You’ve conquered your fear of English’. I have never been happier.
Since that day a decade ago I’ve read a lot of books but the memories of these two are very fresh for they opened to me the realms of human imagination and the beauty in the interplay of these countless words in the arsenal of the English language.
“ Reading is like life, it’s a long journey, but well worth it.”