Thursday, March 31, 2016

Home Libraray


Four months back oranges here were selling at the incredible rate of Rs 19 a kilo.

My son's lady-physician ordered him to eat oranges to tone up his stressed health. And I bought a kilo and brought them home. And as usual he was trying to force an orange piece into my unwilling mouth...I never eat fruits or sweets. My tastes are sourly.

But, in one of my failed attempts to dodge, he won and I found myself sucking a piece that was forced into my toothless mouth.

And found it good...sour enough and unlike a sweet.

And I got addicted...I was buying three for the master, one for the dame, and one for the little girl who lives in our home.

Very soon they stopped eating and I was eating all the oranges I was time-pass fun peeling and sucking and spitting.

And my senior citizen friends remarked that my cheeks have plumped and my general vigor has gone up by a factor of 2.

Soon the orange season was over and their price skyrocketed to Rs 50 a kilo. But I am a bloody addict and found myself spending Rs 100 everyday on my new addiction.

Then one day I found my throat a bit clogged. And then blocked. And then the cough started. And I couldn't sleep at all.

Next morning my son saw my pathetic condition and gave me a strip of 3 tablets of azithromycin asking me to take one a day and in three days I would be cured.

I found relief in 3 hours.

After 3 days I was completely cured but found myself too weak to walk even a few steps. Life didn't seem worth living anymore...but there was a 6% hike in pension and a promise of another 30% hike looming.

I gave up oranges.

And found myself saving Rs 3000 a month. 

Since I couldn't walk I started reading books in my home library. And liking it.

And the idea came that I could buy online as many as 15 paperbacks of my childhood classics per month in that Rs 3000.

And of building a tiny home-library for little Ishani...she is into reading English story books for kids and chastising me for my poor spellings like 'color'.

And I have already ordered half a dozen books and got them too.

But suddenly I became dubious...

When I was in my first year of BSc (Hons, Physics) at my University in Vizagh in 1958 I found we had to read all of 17 prescribed Eng Lit books in two years and pass in two papers at the end of it.

One of those books was "Newman's Idea of a University" (1863, 200 pages). All my classmates said it was unreadable and chose to leave it in the 'choice'.

It was a book I could afford to buy and so I started reading it.

There was a weird ball-pen with me then with all of 4 refills in 4, blue, green and red:

During my first reading I started underlining its 'important' passages in black ink. In my second reading, a different set of them in blue ink. And next in green and next in red.

And found at the end of 2 years (before my exam) that the whole text got underlined in various colors....and all my friends declared I was crazy.

Another slim prescribed book I could afford to buy was Milton's prose book titled Aeropagitica (1644). That too became my favorite although our ma'am advised all of us to leave it for 'choice' and didn't bother to teach us it at all. 

I passed...somewhat gloriously...the examiners must have found the 'difference'.

And in my 4th year when I was supposed to be mugging up 17 books of physics, I came across a book titled 'Autocrat of the Breakfast Table' by a chap called Oliver Wendell Holmes (1858).

And devoured it.

I read that book 5 times in the 5 ensuing decades. An 1885 second-hand edition is with me now, gifted by Edwin F Taylor who had to ransack all the book shops in the Harvard Square in search of a new vain.

I tried to interest at least a dozen well-read friends to read boomeranged...the most diligent succeeded in reading all of its first 3 pages, cursing me.

With such a history of craziness I wonder if it is at all a good idea for me to try and build a home-library for little Ishani in these modern times.

But I console myself that it is enough even if she looks at the titles and remembers the names of their impress her friends and her ma' I did...

...Posted by Ishani




Sir, The season of oranges is over. Please try mangoes, especially small rasam (Nuziveedu), you will be addicted soon. You can have fruits and build up a home library also. You need not sacrifice fruits for library. Both are required, one for the body and another for the mind. People may read or may not read, at least, we are encouraging a good writer and publisher.

-M A Murty

G P Sastry ( said...

Dear Murty Garu:

Many thanks for your kind comments. I value them much.

As it happens, I get scared nowadays to try any fruit...I see daily in the news reports (with pictures) how Hyderabadi fruit sellers are spraying all sorts of vicious chemicals on fruits to make them look good and fructify soon. And I have a tummy that ceased cooperating with me for the last 2 decades. I envy fortunate people who eat well and can digest well.

Yet, I will take your suggestion and try mangoes. They were my childhood craze.

Ishani loves to open packets from Amazon and Flipkart; and already she is flipping new arrivals by RK Narayan and Ruskin Bond with fondness although she has to wait a decade to enjoy them.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said that people who didn't handle books as children grow up in fear of them.

And Mark Twain said that those who don't read books are no better than those who can't...

With best wishes,


Sesha bhai said...

"People those who don't read books are no better than those who can't..."

Super uncle you are such an inspiration...seriosuly we should take out some time and spend atleast 15 minutes in a week...

Sesha Sai