I recall with fondness the day my mom kept my brother and I home from school to read to us. I was about 7 years old. We had gone home for lunch as usual but there was an unusual treat for us. We had the most delicious dessert – fairy tales! My mom had borrowed a book of fairy tales that was on a short-term loan. She started to read as soon as we were through eating and I guess because we were so fascinated with the stories, she allowed us to play hookie that day. Although I cannot recollect any other such story time reading with my mom, she did a lot of home work type of reading with me.
We did not have a library in our Primary School. There were no shops around us that sold books, and even if there were any, we would not have been able to buy them. Books were luxuries my parents could not afford. As a result, we did not have any story books at home. However, we did have the “grandfather” of the neighborhood who kept us riveted on burlap sack mats as we gathered around his knees under the afternoon shade of a tamarind tree. His awe inspiring storytelling planted the seed for a lifelong love of reading – the groundwork for my journey as a reader was set in place.
When I was about 9 years old, I discovered the Enid Blyton books through a friend whose aunt often gifted her with books. Shezida didn’t think twice about lending me her books. I remember turning the pages slowly and savoring the time I spent with her books. What a beautiful time in my childhood.
One of the most treasured memories I have of my childhood is the time when I got the gift of a book from my dear friend, Sharon. The message on the inside cover read, “Congratulations on passing the Common Entrance Exam”. I was most excited because I held in my hand the very first book that I could have called my own. I was 10 years old. That precious gift was “Hello, Mr. Twiddle by Enid Blyton”. My relationship with books and my journey as a reader had only just begun.
My friends and I borrowed books from each other and with each book I read, my appetite and passion for reading grew and grew and grew. I smile when I think of how much I longed to be like the characters in Enid Blyton’s adventure stories. When I was through reading my friends’ books, I was fortunate that a young mother who lived on our street started a book exchange business. I gave her a book, paid her a dollar, and selected another book from her small collection. She got a lot of business from me!
All my life I’ve read- sometimes passionately where I’m shackled to the pages and at others with less zeal. My reading journey gives me glimpses of worlds that I might never experience. As an adult, I have easy access to bookstores, libraries, my own collection, the internet, and the world of blogging. Now, more than ever, I feel that my journey as a reader has only just begun…