I have a vague memory of my younger self – cuddled in the far corner of the bed which was in the far corner of the bedroom in the corner of my home, with a book in my hand and eyes deep into the said book.
The best ever gift my dad has gotten me is the membership to the small library shop – with the old and new copies of Tinkle (& other comics), Famous Five, Secret Seven, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew (and also M&Bs which I tried but didn’t interest me at all!!) and more.
Until I was allowed to cross the busy Arcot road on my cycle (I think I was allowed from 6th standard 🙂 ), dad used to take me every 2 days in the evenings to pick up my books. I was allowed two books at a time. Usually, a Tinkle Digest (more volume) and an Enid Blyton would be my choice. And then the far corner used to happen. During the summer holidays, it was very easy for me to finish these two books in 24 hours instead of the 48 scheduled hours between my trips across the main road. And then I used to try my luck asking mom / dad another trip to the library. Now, a comic would cost us 50 paisa and a book about Rs.1 or 1.50 – the costs can add up quite quickly if I was allowed every day trips. My hobby was a luxury that my parents encouraged, 2 days at a time. I still crib about every damn thing they refused to spend on me in order to save for gold, but I (now) know how difficult it is to manage a household budget.
I remember my childhood as school, volleyball, riding around on my cycle and my books. When I was happy, I was in the corner with my books. When I was angry or upset, I was in the corner with my books. That’s how my parents remember me. That’s how I remember my younger self.
I don’t know when all this changed – was it the rigour of board exams and college admissions? Moving far away from home to the new found freedom in the Pilani hostel? I still used to spend my Saturday mornings in one of the corners of the Bangalore Forum Landmark but life had too many other distractions. And then Hyderabad, Bombay, London… life has been busy and I forgot my childhood friends.
I want to get back to my corner… deep inside the book without the distractions of the to-do list, the dog, the husband, the work stress, the worries and life.