I have been an avid reader since the day I came across a book for the first time. And a writer too. Mom says I used to grab the morning paper after Papa was done with it & stare at it intently pretending to be reading it. And many of Papa’s old magazines bear witness to my unskilled writing skills (not that I’m skilled now). This was in the first few years of my life.
Later on when the alphabet and the like started making sense to me I was introduced to the wonderful world of books by Papa. The first story book that found its way into my hands was the kids’ magazine Champak. I have a vague memory of diligently marking every story I’d read with a pencil and also pausing now & then so that the entire book isn’t finished in a single day. Well, I still haven’t mastered that art and every book I pick up ends up sooner than I want it to.
There are many such books in my collection that date back to when i was 10 or 12. But the book that I love the most & treasure till date is my copy of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. It turned 8 this year.The book is special for more reasons than one. I used to subscribe to every children’s magazine available in my pre-teen and teen years. There is this very interesting one Children’s World published by NBT that I particularly fancied. Some girl had written a book review of HP 4 in that. And after reading it I was mesmerized to say the least and practically obsessed with the idea of reading that book. Luckily my 13th birthday was approaching. And I was equally obsessed with the idea of finally turning into a teen. So both the obsessions combined and I launched into a full-fledged tantrum mode at home.
My parents are sensible people, bless them! I’ve already mentioned their stance regarding excessive expenditure. And everyone knows HP books are a tad bit costly. So my numerous water-leakages were of no avail. Finally I bargained with Mom & sacrificed my birthday cake to finally get the book. And the thick book lasted for just 12hours in my hand before I was torturing my classmates for HP & the Prisoner of Azkaban! Thus began my journey with Harry. And if there is one book that I coveted with all my heart & soul, its HP5. Till date there has been no other book that I had wanted with as much desperation as Harry Potter & the Order of The Phoenix. Sadly I still don’t have it in my collection.
Needless to say I prize my HP4, that’s one book I am never going to give away, except perhaps to my grandchildren! I wouldn’t want them to miss out on this magical tale and read all about Hogwarts that too from a hardbound book and not some e-tablet. Now in the age of e-books I still prefer buying books and go berserk during a book-fair. I own a small personal library now with a wide collection of fiction and classics. It’s only book lovers who will understand the difference between staring at letters on a screen and flipping through pages inhaling the sweet smell of books.
There is something about the feel of paper that the hard LCD can never replace, isn’t it?!