Years ago I visited my mom’s village. I was probably 12 that time and like every kid I had this habit of checking out everything and to ask questions about it. One day I came across a wooden cupboard, and as I opened it, I saw dozens of books inside. My mom told me that all those books belonged to my grandfather. I was a curious little kid who was fond of reading even then and as such I started taking out all those books out. The books were mostly Hindi novels, some even from the early 1900’s (probably inherited by my grandfather from his ancestors) and the difficult language with which they were written made it impossible for me to understand anything. Bored of the content, I started flipping the pages and as I did that I discovered old letters, torn pages, and dried flowers. I found two letters which were from the time India got independence, both addressed to my grandfather, letters from friends who lived far away. There were also notes about the people to whom my grandfather had lent money. There were pieces of paper, may be receipts of the things he bought with their prices. I was amused to know that once upon a time the cost of sugar was just Re. 1/kg. I was fascinated to read everything, letters, notes but I don’t know why I didn’t keep those things with me. It’s not like I didn’t visit my village again, in fact I was there 4 years ago but those books never crossed my mind. It’s only today when I started writing about this challenge, I thought about those notes in my grandfather’s old books.
Moving on from my grandfather’s story to my own story, I would like to tell you what happened two weeks ago when I went to my sister’s place. She teaches little kids and as such she has kept my old story books, text books, comics with her. One fine day I was going through all those old books of mine and I found lines written by me, dried flowers, leaves of different shapes , cartoon sketches and notes written all over. I can’t express what I really felt that moment. I was happy, sad and excited at the same time. I took time even to recognize my own handwriting; it was so different back then. I could see smiling faces drawn by me all over and I remembered all those happy moments, those beautiful moments I lived. All those memories hidden within the pages of those books were a part of that time of my life when I was really happy, those times when I believed in fairy tales, when I believed in superheroes, those times when I was a protected little girl. I was lost in a world full of memories. Those books brought back my childhood.
It’s not that I don’t like e-books but I do prefer paperbacks. I don’t feel attached to them the way I feel with paperback books. I can’t see them as my personal belongings. I feel attached to the books, novels and magazines I own. I can touch them, smell them, and feel them. Ah the smell of a book, especially of a new or a really old one! I still have the habit of writing small notes on the pages of a book, or hide my secret things within the pages of my text books, no one looks for letters or cards within the books you study, they always look for your diaries. And I certainly can’t hide things in an e-book. I preserve flowers or leaves within them, the first flower my guy gave me, or some differently shaped leaves. I love doing that. And who doesn’t, we all love making memories. Memories make our lives worth living.
I believe books are an important part of our property, they are as precious as money or jewelry specially to people like us who spend a major part of our lives either writing or reading the written word. Someday our future generations will inherit these books from us and they will discover the world we lived in. Just like I thought about my grandfather today, they will think about me. And I like being remembered, don’t you?
( Written for this week’s writing challenge)