Friday, June 28, 2013
My friend Pushpa's 14 year old grand daughter Tanisha sent me a Book as a surprise--to my delight it turned out to be "To kill a Mocking Bird" by Harper Lee!! This happens to be one of my most beloved Books from my childhood--I must have been around 12 years old when I first read it.Since then I've read very often but unfortunately my copy got lost somewhere in the 1990s--and so since then I've been looking for this.Re-reading this once more was so very poignant for me--for though I know the storyline by heart I connected to it with a far deeper empathy than before--maybe the passage of Life and Living have given me a deeper insight into the characters!!At the age of 10 years old I had suffered an extremely severe bout of Jaundice---it had been a very hard 3 months for me then for I was an extremely active child!!
Confined to my bed and terribly bored my father had bought me this thick,fat Book with pages like Onion skins.It was called "Gone with The Wind" and it was to become my personal Bible-- and Scarlett O' Hara my personal Saint!!I literally devoured the Book hungrily and drank in each and every word---pretty soon was dreaming about it--fascinated completely by the characters and culture of the period.However I needed something more despite this and that's when Rudyard Kipling's "Kim" entered the scene.Having a similar Indian background and being familiar with the Grand Trunk Road built in medieval times by Sher Shah Sur I could actually relate to the Book more easily and this too become an extremely favourite Saga--I gave my copy of it to our grand child Meha a few years back and now am looking for another one---unfortunately difficult to find in the Book Stores here.
These devoured and hungry for more once again, my mother handed me her copy of "Nectar in a Sieve" written by Kamala Markandeya--another heart touching book.Unfortunately this copy too got lost when my parents shifted to Mauritius never to surface again no matter how hard we searched.It was around this time that I became acquainted with Daphne du Maurier and her books "Rebecca" and "My Cousin Rachel". My favourite however was "Gerald--A Portrait" a biography of her father.There were many others too--some that came in Serial forms in Mummy's copies of The Woman & Home,Woman and Women's Weekly--the British Magazines that Mummy subscribed to.These also served to make me drool---the marvellous recipes they carried as well as the Pictures of Steak and Kidney Pudding,Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding---all served to make me sick of desperate hunger--confined as I was to Soups and Juices only!!The Hovis Bread advertisements made me drool--for I am a Bread fiend--could literally live off it---and when I finally tasted variety of it in London let me say the taste matched the imagined one in my memory!!
The next batch that Daddy got me after this included "She" and "Return of She" by H.Rider Haggard and it has held me in thrall ever since.Ursula Andress and George Chakiris looked beautiful as the main characters of Ayesha and Leo in the Film of the same name but somehow they could not become the two protagonists they portrayed.Neither for me did Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable fill the shoes of either Scarlett O' Hara or Rhett Butler neatly despite the hype.Perhaps it was Gregory Peck as Atticus of "To kill a Mocking Bird" that filled out the character to the fullest becoming synonymous with the character he portrayed.I have always adored the rakishness of Clark Gable and the fiery beauty of Vivien Leigh in the Poster of "Gone with the Wind" Film--but the actual Film was a disappointment for me--lacking the depth and drama it needed to flesh out from the Book.There were innumerable arguments with Mummy over this--she always held that those were more than perfect to my contrary opinion!!
My Bedroom always has been and always will be overflowing with Books--for these are my most constant Companions as well as my beloved Friends.I meet a few new ones each month when I treat myself to some new or some sought after old titles in the Bookstore. The joy of rediscovering a cherished old friend cannot be described in mere words!!