September 6th is read a book day.
For a bookworm like me it the ideal holiday. Rains outside, a warm cup of coffee, banana chips and books. Books could be PG Wodehouse, Agatha Christie.
I remember Brigadier Cariappa from the bamboli army camp tell us when he learnt how to read how an amazing new world was discovered by him. Or like the poet Tennyson one travels the world through the eyes of the author. They are documents of a lifestyle, thought and philosophy of a generation.
My earliest memory of the romance with the books is my mother showing me some pictures. The first book I read was Enid Blytons “Famous five go on an adventure ” anyway it was a famous five with my older cousin initiating me to a world of whodunits.
Of course I had my share of Mills and Boons, Barbara Cartlands and Denise Robins. I even read a couple of Danielle Steel’s. Before discovering Zane Greys and the Sudden series.
When my kids came along I had subscribed to tinkle for my older daughter. The brat that she is, she would get me to narrate the story in Kannada, then my husband had to narrate it in Marathi. In our absence she would place all her dolls and narrate the stories to them. When my younger daughter was born the dolls were replaced by her. When she was 10yrs told my older daughter read and explained the autobiography of a Yogi to her younger sister who was 5yrs.
My younger daughter was more into autobiographies. Abdul Kalam and Vikram Sarabhai being her favourites. Now of course it is Harry Potter and the Twilight Series.
When my dad was in the terminal stage of his disease, mornings he would read the newspaper. Then my younger daughter would read him her favourite books and they were all the green dragons for 10 year olds. In the evening my three year old niece would read/share her picture books. He would look forward to these interactions with his grandchildren.
Books by Enid Blyton ruled our childhood; with what Katy did series Heidi or Little women series
While Enid Blyton glossed over the school values and growing up with sports and adventures. Self discovery it was kind of sexless. Make up was not acceptable, being Lady like was not shall we say cool?
The little woman series or the Katy did series were also about growing up, but in an American environment, the limitations of a lower middle class family, working to achieve ones ambition, and contributing to the family were all there.
When I looked at what my eight year old niece reads, it’s about makeup, dating, partying being cheer leaders I realize that the generations have change so have the people who create the value of the generation.
Children are no more left to agonized over a hockey match, they agonizing about fitting into peers, about having boyfriends and using lipsticks at the age of 12!