Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Books - Our Family's First Love



Indyeah's article about her love for books, inspired me to write a post about my family's love for books.

My whole family loves reading books. I remember my grandmother (during late 1950s to '60s), used to sit in the veranda of our ancestral home, in Udupi (Karnataka), in the afternoons and read the day's newspaper (Kannada), 'Navabharatha'. I remember her wearing a pair of round specs ( like the one Gandhiji used) for reading and was asking us to read if the letters were too small. She used to discuss about politics also with her sons. I still remember her crying when the late American President Kennedy was shot dead. She was so happy to read about Yuri Gagarin reaching the moon. She was reading the weekly magazines of those days, like Kasturi (it was the Kannada version of Readers' Digest, if I remember correctly), Mayura etc. My grand father was a Sanskrit scholar and had a printing press of his own and a book shop also, which sold religious books. He used to give pocket money to my mamas and they spent that money on subscribing for books like 'Life' magazine and they had the full set of Perry Mason books at home. One whole wall was full of books in Sanskrit, Kannada and lots of English books too. English was not so popular in those days. I remember showing my small children, when I went there with them, the photographs of Queen Elizabeth's coronation ceremony, from 'Life' magazine. They were so beautiful. They were hard bound books. Those books are now, at the local College library, which my grandfather had patronized. My mother worked as a librarian, after we came to Madras. She was an encyclopaedia of mythological characters! She and her grandsons (my sons) used to spend hours discussing about them. She was a cricket addict too and used to discuss with my husband about who was a better player!

As far as I remember, I started reading 'Chandamama' in Kannada from 3rd or 4th std. It was a monthly magazine and I used to sit and wait in the veranda seat (the old house had a separate gate, a bit away from the main house, with a roof and seats on both sides of the gate) on the day the magazine was delivered. I remember reading the complete book at a stretch, there itself - my mama and mother used to keep on shouting at me, to get ready for school! I was introduced to English, when I joined 5th Std., here, in Chennai. Then learnt Tamil and started reading Tamil books, like Ananda Vikatan, Kumudam, etc. I started reading English books, like Treasure Island etc. from around 7th Std. Got them from our school library. Later on, read some books of Ruby M.Ayers (M&B type), but was not very fond of them. I don't know why I remember her name. I must have read just one or two books of hers. Maybe, that was the first romantic novel, I had read in my teens! I became an addict of M&B books in my 40s! Hormonal imbalance?!! Then, the whole world opened up, when I started reading James Hadley Chase, Alistair McLean, Perry Mason etc. It continued to Arthur Hailey, Irving Wallace, Pearl S.Buck and so many other authors. My husband also is a serious reader of books. I used to bring two books at a time from the library. We used to fight for which book to read first. He used to finish reading them first and threaten to reveal the end of the story to me!

Now, to the children.



I read a lot of books but a zero at the ability of story telling. So I started buying
'Amar Chitra Katha' books and read the stories to my sons, from the pictures. I used to read them in English first (this was, before they started going to school) and then translate them into Tamil (My husband is a Tamilian and we speak in Tamil at home). When my elder son was in UKG itself, he started reading these books slowly - I had to read just the Sanskrit names of the characters. I had subscribed for Readers' Digest in those days and he started reading jokes first. Then in a later date, all four of us, used to do the 'word power' (3-4 meanings will be given for a word and we have to tick the correct one, first in a paper) and check who had written more correct words. I still remember - my husband and I used to read books before going to sleep and the children used to sleep between us. After reading them, we kept the books under the pillow. The children will have a look at us, lie down on the bed with their legs crossed, just like their father, with a book each in their hands and pretend to read, with the book upside down! After sometime they too will push them under the pillow and take some other book to 'read'!

My elder son started reading Perry Mason from 4th std. The younger son is just 2 years younger to him. Both are fond of science fiction books. We used to get books from the library and the whole house was scattered with books. People who came home, used to say that our house looked like a library. We were regular visitors of book exhibitions. This book-reading habit has taken the children's knowledge to the peak. My elder son took a huge carton of books when he went abroad for studying further, all old books, which he had read umpteen times! Everyone knows my habit of presenting books to all the children, for their birthdays.

Yes, I am fortunate to be born in a family and married into a family, who are all book addicts. And music lovers! It was so easy to entertain my children when they were small with book-reading, because we did not have any elders with us to pay attention to them. I had to do multi-tasking, with 2 small children and housework and only the books saved me from going mad, in those days. Books are god's gift for all of us.

As Indyeah said in her post, 'Nothing can replace books. Nothing should'.



Picture courtesy: Chandamama and Amarchitra katha - google sites

15 comments :

kavita said...

Sandhya,guess what it was just yesterday i asked my book-store owner if they can get me CHANDAMAMA...i use to read it as a child,now i get my kids weekly supply of Amar chitra katha too.....your description of your grandmom is very beautiful....simply great post..thankyou

Shilpa said...

Sandhya,
The reason I have been off blog all this while was 'coz I was busy reading. I read some really good books and was not inspired enough to write.

A post about what I read and why is in the offing.

For now, if you are looking for book recommendations, check out both books of Khaled Hosseini and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

And if you have any recommendations for me, I am waiting to hear.

Sandhya said...

kavitha: I feel mythological stories have all the rasas - navarasa. So many movie stories are from Ramayana and Mahabharatha. Instead of looking for western stories, our own stories have got everything for a child to learn. Amar chithra katha and Panchathantra kathas are the best for children to read.

More stories are there about my grandma and I will be quoting her often!

Shilpa: I was wondering what happened to you. You go offline often!

My book-reading has slowed down. I think the last book I read was 'The Twentieth Wife' by Indira Sundaresan. Now I spend time in this hobby of blogging!

Waiting to read the reviews of the books, you have read.

R. Ramesh said...

Books are god's gift for all of us..i realised it late..better late than never, right? thanks for yr continuous encouragement

indyeahforever said...

I LOVED this post Sandhya:))
what a book lover you are!:)) a family of bibliophiles !!
awesome!
My heart smiles and dances whenever I discover a book lover:D:D

you have been so fortunate Sandhya!:) to have grandparents who loved words too:))


I love Perry Mason books too:)))

My mother worked as a librarian, after we came to Madras. She was an encyclopaedia of mythological characters! She and her grandsons (my sons) used to spend hours discussing about them. She was a cricket addict too and used to discuss with my husband about who was a better player!
you lucky lucky girl!:)))


a librarian?that was my dream!:)) I still have them:))

chandamama?:))I LOVED them:))
I am not aware of the otehr books you have mentioned but they sound equally delightful:))

My husband also is a serious reader of books. I used to bring two books at a time from the library. We used to fight for which book to read first. He used to finish reading them first and threaten to reveal the end of the story to me!
lucky you to have a book lover as a soulmate:D
LOL@threatening to reveal the story:D:D



I so agree Sandhya!!
Amar Chitra Kathas are so wonderful for telling kids all about history and mythology:)))

I still collect them:)

RD's wordpower is fun na?:))
really tests one:))

The children will have a look at us, lie down on the bed with their legs crossed, just like their father, with a book each in their hands and pretend to read, with the book upside down! After sometime they too will push them under the pillow and take some other book to 'read'!
LOL!!sho cute:)))
I could just imagine them doing it:)))


thank YOU for taking me on a nostalgic trip too Sandhya:))
I enjoyed this peek into your home:))))


(((hugs)))))
here's to booklovers!!may our tribe grow!!:D

Solilo said...

I used to love Chandamam, Nandan and Amar Chitra Katha.

I still get Tinkle when I go to India. I bring so many digests of Tinkle and read Shikari Shambhu, Kaalia etc. It is so much fun. Peanut loves it too. Though she is still learning sentences and don't understand too much still tries to read and enjoys.

Varunavi said...

I miss chandamma sandhy :(, i wish i can subscribe it from here.

I love reading reader digest but the book has changed a lot,to much to read in that :(

hitchwriter said...

I love books toooo though of late i read a lot less... !!

but when i get into a book i read like crazy till i finish it... !!!

I am a crazy fan... of tom swayer.. my life's biggest hero... written by mark twain...

tinkle, amarchitra katha, indrajal comics, misha, oh the list is endless.....

you must have seen the books I wrote in Indyeah's post in the comments...

Sandhya said...

Ramesh: Yes, books are god's best gifts, Ramesh.

Indyeah: I wholeheartedly thank you for your detailed comment, Indyeah! I am happy to know that I was not boring my readers by blabbering about my family.

Yes, from my childhood, I was surrounded by books and it continues even now. Now, my reading has slowed down, though. Concentration is becoming lesser than before. Too many distractions too.

This post poured out from my mind, after reading your beautiful post about books, Indyeah. Big 'HUGS' to you!

solilo: My children read a lot of Amar chithra katha, than Chandamama. Then a magazine named 'Target'. It was very good. I had subscribed for it. It was full of tidbits and general knowledge, according to the children's age. I don't know whether it is published now. Once I saw at some bookshop, it was catering to young readers more than small kids.

Tinkle is good. Peanut also will start 'reading' stories - without proper reading - just by looking at the cartoons/sketches, shortly, I am sure.

Saritha: Readers' Digest will be interesting for children when they are in 6th or 7th std. I have stopped subscribing for it, for the past 3-4 years. Somehow, I think, it is not like before.

Read them Amarchithra katha. They will enjoy.

hitchwriter: Yes, I read the comments in Indyeah's post. My husband too, is a fast reader and finishes off the book, reading throughout the night.
I am not so! Now 'story-telling' books/cds have come. Don't know if they are interesting.

wordsndreamz said...

I love this post! Any post about books make my day :) Reading is such an integral part of our lives, isn't it?

You mom worked as a librarian? Wow! I used to dream about being a librarian - when I was younger - that was the best job, in my eyes then :) Surrounded by books - what better life :) I used to read so much that my parents were worried that I would flunk my exams :)

I remember books and stories as far back as I remember. I do hope to impart the love of books to my daughter too.. She loves stories and books now.. I have to read her loads of books before she agrees to sleep :)

I used to love Reader's Digest too.. My grandad had a collection from the 55s.. So when I started reading them in the 80s, it was almost of historical value :) I remember reading my first RD when I was in Class 3 :)

Oh I have to do a post on books too.. Too much to write in comments :)

Sandhya said...

wordsndreamz: I felt like this when I started commenting on Indyeah's blog on books! And I wrote this blog!

Yes, my mother was a librarian in a Kannada books library. She learnt to read Tamil within one year of our coming to Chennai, just to read Tamil books! Tamil books are very good.

I am happy to know one more book-lover, Smitha. Waiting for your blog about books, now!

kanagu said...

nice post Sandhyaji.. :)

all th ones in your family seems to be really good readers... and I never ever read any of the books you have mentioned there.. :(

but some way my father instilled me the habit of reading newspapers into me which helps me a lot in reading a book now :) some books really changes our life and changes our assumption of life.. they are really good companions :)

Sandhya said...

KANAGU: Hi Kanagu, I saw your comment now and feel bad I didn't acknowledge it then.

Hope you are still reading, sitting in the US!

Take care.

2009 comment and 2014 acknowledgement!

sm said...

Amar chithra katha,Chandamama i read both
sure anyone who reads it will enjoy them

Sandhya said...

sm: Yes, sm! Our children grew up reading these books!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Labels

Agra ( 3 ) ants ( 1 ) Arya Samaj wedding ( 1 ) Aurangabad ( 1 ) awards ( 3 ) Badami cave temples ( 4 ) balika vadhu ( 4 ) Bhimsen Joshi ( 1 ) birds and butterflies ( 27 ) Book Review ( 2 ) Books ( 5 ) Chennairain ( 1 ) children ( 2 ) Chutney ( 1 ) Cinderella Man ( 1 ) cinema ( 15 ) common wealth games ( 1 ) concerts ( 5 ) Corporation Schools ( 1 ) cricket ( 2 ) Dharamshala ( 3 ) dogs ( 5 ) Doordarshan ( 9 ) down memory lane ( 5 ) Education ( 15 ) English Movie Review ( 15 ) Environment ( 52 ) Festivals ( 20 ) Firaaq (2008) ( 1 ) Fitness ( 1 ) Forts ( 3 ) Foto Friday ( 18 ) Gafla ( 1 ) General ( 42 ) Health ( 7 ) Hindi film songs ( 3 ) Hindi Movie Review ( 24 ) Humour ( 6 ) Jagjit Singh ( 4 ) Kalakshetra ( 1 ) Kamal Haasan ( 2 ) kanjira ( 1 ) Karsh Kale ( 1 ) kaun banega superstar ( 3 ) kbc ( 2 ) Kew Gardens ( 2 ) Kittens ( 10 ) Kurnool ( 4 ) kya aap paanchvi paas se tez hain? ( 1 ) language ( 1 ) London ( 5 ) Mahabaleshwar tour ( 5 ) movie review ( 7 ) Mumbai Meri Jaan ( 1 ) music ( 56 ) my garden ( 17 ) Nature ( 19 ) New year ( 3 ) onion ( 1 ) patriotism ( 19 ) pattadha kallu ( 1 ) People whom I admire ( 60 ) Personal experience ( 2 ) pets ( 19 ) politics ( 20 ) Portugese anchor ( 1 ) Pt.Chaurasia ( 1 ) radio ( 4 ) rantings ( 3 ) reality shows ( 2 ) recognition ( 2 ) religion ( 3 ) s ( 1 ) Sangeeth Saritha ( 5 ) saregama 1998 mega final ( 3 ) saregama 1999 finals ( 1 ) saregamapa 2010 ( 1 ) showcaves ( 1 ) Sonu Nigam ( 5 ) sound of music ( 3 ) sparrows ( 3 ) Sports ( 6 ) Srilanka tour ( 4 ) sunrise ( 6 ) superstitions ( 2 ) Tagged ( 11 ) Tamil movie Review ( 8 ) Temples ( 22 ) Tendulkar ( 3 ) The King's Speech ( 1 ) The Taj ( 1 ) thief ( 1 ) Tirupati ( 3 ) tour ( 59 ) tours ( 2 ) Travel ( 25 ) TV serial review ( 8 ) Ulagath Tamizh Semmozhi Maanaadu ( 1 ) unbelievable news ( 2 ) US tour ( 4 ) Ustaad Zakir Hussain ( 1 ) Vaalpaarai ( 3 ) vedanthangal ( 3 ) voh kaagaz ki kashti ( 75 ) wordless wednesday ( 38 ) yoga ( 2 )