Thursday, May 04, 2006

the fascinating world of books

Achan still feels guilty for not having sent us to any good English Medium School. He is still not convinced I can speak good English. Since my childhood he used to get The Hindu paper at home. He trusted that paper to be just and unbiased. Even now, his days start with The Hindu. He also hoped the paper to improve our language.

I still have a poor vocabulary and poorer pronounciation skills. My grammar is descent, I guess. My brother has got an admirable language. He can write damn too well.

We both studied in the Govt Schools. At that time, the school bus for the English medium school would come on the main road at 7 in the morning. It wasn’t easy for Amma to get us ready and take us to the bus stop at that time, as Achan might not be there all the mornings.

So reluctantly though, Amma and Achan agreed upon the local schools. I still thank them for that.

I don’t remember my homework books or heavy school bags
But I still remember all us kids walking to school
With those colorfull umbrellas during those rainy days
Sharing of pulinguru , Jathikka and ripe mangoes

Blessed am I that I had such a wonderful childhood… I am getting a lump in my throat thinking of those good old days.

Achan always admired great authors. I have never heard of Sidney Sheldon or John Gresham till I saw my roomie reading those during my MBA days. I have no disrespect to any of them. But I have a different taste. Rather my dad has. And he introduced us to the world of fascinating books.

He still has a small collection of books. One of the first great books I have read is The Mother by Maxim Gorky. I don’t know how many times I have read that book. But I bet I can still read it as many times. He used to get poetry books by all our great Malayalam poets. We used to byheart so many of them. I can still recite Vayalar poems. The best lines I remember are from Saphalamee Yathra by N N Kakkadu:-

Kaalaminiyum Varum
Vishu varaum Varsham Varum
Pinne oro ithalinum poo varum kaay varum
Appol Aarennum enthennum aarkariyam
Haa Saphalamee Yathra

How awe struck I was on reading those lines. And the best romantic lines in Malayalam poetry is from Balachandran Chullikkadu

Dukhamanengilum Ninnekkurichulla
Dukham entanantham aanenikomane
Ennumen paana pathram niraykkatte
Nin asannidhyam pakarunna vedana

At home, I still have a paper cutting on that poem wherein the poet describes the poignant story of a lovelorn fellow who inspired him to write the entire lines. I have cried reading those lines.

Achan has all the Vedas, The Bible and The Koran in his library. He always used to tell us
“Don’t criticize or take side of anything before you know what it is”. How true he was.

People used to come home for borrowing books from him. And he never said NO.

Even before I have heard of Love Story, Achan had bought us One Hundred Years of Solitude(by Marqez). I had an opportunity to read most of Vaikam Mohammad Basheer books. His small library has books cutting across all religions, international classics and the native collections.

I have read Freedom At Midnight and Osho books. We have Krishnamurthy and Brief History of Time in the same shelf, Fidel Castro and Bhagawath Gita kept next to next. We could read Bible and Karl Marx from the same collection.

I was never addicted to books. And my knowledge of them was restricted to Achan’s choices. But I must admit that his choice always were class apart. What a treasure you have given me my dear father.. Your zest for knowledge is the greatest legacy you have passed on to us.

But it was my brother who introduced me to Osho and Krishnamurthy books. He made Achan buy Siddhartha by (Hermane Hasse). He gave me Interpretation of Dreams.

After my school days, there was long pause till we all came back to books. Thanks to my dear brother, we added some more books to our collection.

You can all recollect your grandparent telling you stories in your childhood. But do any of you have a younger brother who still tells you stories before you go to sleep? I have. I also have a father who used to tell stories of great men and stories from great books than those Prince in the Shining Armor. I am a pampered spoilt brat. (Even from my younger brother).

Amma was a quieter lot, who could never understand why Achan would spend a good portion of his average salary on books.

The other day I have finished reading The City of Joy. I sent an e-mail to a couple of friends saying the books make an excellent reading. Thanks to the reply from Praseeth, for taking me back to those days.

As per his suggestion I am creating another blog for the books I have read. That will be updated very very rarely as I am still a lazy ass as far as pursuing of any hobby is concerned.

As a last word, thanks Pra-----. :-) You got me very nostalgic.


Blogger Arjun Ramakrishnan said...

thanks for visiting my blog.

this post was really great. the way you write, your Achan needn't feel guilty of not sending you to English Med schools. it is a blessing to have a father like that, who introduces you to good books and great men in your childhood. My father (I call him Achan too) haven't read much being just a matriculate but he knew the inportance of reading for me and I have benefited like anything from the encouragement he has given me to read. He gave me the option of choosing books fro myself but I think I was fortunate like you to have grown up in a small, sleepy town and therefore not to have got spoiled by Sidney Sheldon or John Grishan in my younger years. I have read them recently but the taste that I have built is very similar to yours.

Your story coincidentally sounded very familiar too. I being a youner brother to my sister (who come to think of it, would write more or less like you) and I call my parents Achan and Amma.

5:15 AM  
Blogger Lost in trance... said...

my marquez is still unread. but jiddu n hawkins i did. :)

read all ur posts, u have an original, honest n beautiful writing style. will come back.

kaanaam :)

6:13 PM  
Blogger philip said...

u r really lucky that your father made some excellent choices for you. the hindu is the best paper that you will get in india. i still subscribe to it inspite of the fact that i get it one day late. i wish i had read a bit more of malayalam literature like you got to do.

6:00 AM  
Anonymous sunil said...

came across your blog site searching for 'saphalamee yaathra' lines in google....happy i did that....

incidents converted to frames and amazingly woven into make those scenes...keep those reels rolling...

4:39 AM  
Anonymous ranjisree said...

your posting is really worth reading. However could you post the entire poem of Balachandran chullikkadu dukhamanengilum.............

8:06 AM  


10:10 AM  
Blogger The Common Man | പ്രാരാബ്ധം said...

A small correction

"...Kaalaminiyum Varum
Vishu varaum Varsham Varum Thiruvonam varum.."

And I think you missed a number of lines before "Saphalamee Yathra"..

Nice reading!

11:32 PM  
Blogger roy said...

It was great to read your comment,,i am an army officer,,to be precise,,an infantry officer,,i have served in counter insurgency operations in assam and jammu & kashmir,,anyways,,i had met chullikadu,,in a place called arimpur in trichur,,i do not know he remembers that,,it was nearly 12 years ago,,i was 21 years then,,i gave a cigarette as well to him it was at that point my mother died of blood cancer,,and i was hooked to maranavardu,,i was a looser ,,i have a problem,,when i read his poems,,it becomes byheart to me,,even i can still recite almost 90 percent he has written,,balachandran chullikadu has written what i could not write,,

9:50 AM  

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