So! Now that I am back to smashing my fingers over the keyboard (one motivation being the satisfying ‘clunk’; it is music making really, as I like to claim!) I realised how easily reading and perhaps writing comes to many of us. In fact, reading is not just a hobby – it is a love affair involving all our senses. I have noticed on asking people what they like to read or who their favourite author is, often the answers become more and more obscure. After a certain age, it just isn’t cool to say Rowling, Sidney Sheldon or heavens forbid, Coelho! Maybe subtly, we all want to claim a certain level of knowing or a sophistication that has come with our evolved and eclectic reading habits.
This made me remember this interview I had gone through during the selection process for my post graduate program. Who is your favourite author is a very common question. Because I am really curious (read: nosey) and like to know everyone’s business, I started making notes of the common answers that came across. The list of authors looked a lot like Salman Rushdie, Ayn Rand, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Virginia Woolf… you can guess. I looked at the name that I had put down – Emily Bronte as I loved Wuthering Heights. Hmmmm. So with the exception of this one delightful guy who worshipped Tolkien and actually got twinkly eyes while
chanting talking about him – all of us had chosen a name because of a piece of literature associated with it had been insightful and celebrated, and possibly struck a major chord with us. As luck would have it, I was the last in the line, so I had a lot of time to really think about the reason I had picked Emily Bronte – or correction – I had picked the author of my then favourite novel.
Maybe it was my hunger or my aching calves – but just like that this jolt of awakening went through me. I had started taking my love of reading for granted. It was something that was just there – as natural as the blood flowing through my veins. My thoughts went back to the first book I had picked up – “Five Get into a Fix” by Enid Blyton. It was my first date and I was hooked for life! That is where my fascination with books had started. The Famous Five, Secret Seven, Malory Towers, Naughtiest Girl, Faraway Tree and later on the Nancy Drews and Roald Dahl classics had fuelled my love for reading. The writings of those authors (in my case, particularly Enid Blyton) helped me in building and cementing this foundation. Those novels taught me how to escape into the books and create my niche world with every word and every page. Those books taught me to love books and enjoy my time with them – hell those books taught me HOW TO READ BOOKS and lovingly tended to my language skills! At the tender age of 10, those books helped me in appreciating simplicity and good old fashioned story-telling and also deliciously informed me that something called bacon and sausages exist; yes thank you Enid Blyton for making me feel hungry every ten pages. If those authors with simple, colourful books had goofed up and not done such a fabulous job at retaining the attention span of millions of budding readers, all these bigger names may not have had a chance at attracting adult readers into their works.
Sitting there in the room, I had become ten again. I owed my love for reading to authors such as Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. As much as I loved and enjoyed Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, John Grisham, Tolkien and others, Enid Blyton might just have become my all-time favourite who had lovingly helped in sowing and watering the seeds which burst into an evergreen passion of reading. Extremely confident, I walked into the interview room and pat came my response of Enid Blyton. I was thrilled with the reaction the interview panel gave and then followed a pleasant two minute discussion on the superiority of The Famous Five over Secret Seven (please! One Word – Timmy!)
In the race of growing up and becoming worldly wise, it is important to remember the little things in life that delight us and to take time out for those simple enchanting moments. It might just take a potted plant, or fairy lights or a dog snoring at your feet to make those moments worthwhile. While my time is often spent wanting to shake GRRM into finishing The Winds of Winter, it is never too late to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and settle into my favourite armchair reading about the next adventure of the Famous Five. Off I go 🙂