In the feel of a book…

“Her dressing sense is awfully good, you know!” I exclaimed.

My friend looked at me askance and retorted, “Is that a compliment or a criticism?”

She had mistaken my use of the word “awful” to mean only its literal negativity whether it be used as an adjective or an adverb.
I smiled at her sheepishly at this realization and clarified, “A compliment, of course. I’ve just been too much with Enid Blyton recently.”

But, the awaited look of comprehension never did light upon her face and I caught myself thinking, “Is there anyone who understands me?”

For I had recently turned 21 and the search as of yet, has returned futile.

Ah! But for the company of a chum who reads and understands, not just the story, but the author, the background beneath and around and who imbibes it in such an intimate manner as to recognize it on a signboard across the street- the style of a pen and the wit, the prose and the plot, the thoughts and ideas jealously guarded within…(my style has been in the company of Lucy Maud Montgomery for too long, I see).

Of Enid Blyton’s determined schoolgirl’s prose or of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s delightful life-affirming verse; of Jane Austen’s satirical austerity or even of J.K. Rowling’s colourful vocabulary- I ache for the company which delights in such conversations or at least understands such a discourse.

Not that my life has been a constancy of disappointments…

I remember- mere school girls’ revelry in Harry Potter and his magical schemes- how we used to repeat dialogues to each other; how we used to act out any scene that stirred our fancy (Molly Weasley has been forever immortalized in my memory in the high-pitched tones of a certain bushy-haired friend); how we could recall words and phrases not just out of her books, but out of J.K. Rowling’s life.

I remember another friend with whom I shared my raptures over Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice- an eternal favourite. I, rooting for Lizzy Bennet for all my worth and she, for Mr. Darcy with all her pride and then sighing together that, indeed, they made a match too good to be true.

I have even taken joy in putting down the literary style of Amish’s “Meluha” series in recent times.

But oh! For the times past, when we could talk with joy and endless interest about the exploits of every engaging book or author we devoured in our insatiable appetite for the written word.

But now, I wonder, when I mentioned Lucy Maud Montgomery, how many had even heard of her or of her precious Anne of Green Gables or of her precocious Emily of New Moon?

Or I wonder, how many children actually go through that undeniable ritual of growing up with Enid Blyton? For in these times of an unrecognizable Cartoon Network and a horde of well-meaning, but piffling trash of so-called modern children’s fiction, Enid Blyton has been (in an incredibly unjust manner as such that NEVER happens in her books) undeniably denied.

I also wonder, though jumping as such from books to television does indeed seem rambling, but the previous mention of Cartoon Network brought it to mind, I wonder how many children are acquainted with dear old Mickey mouse and Pluto and Donald Duck and Goofy and the crafty minxes that are Minnie Mouse and Daffy Duck in their original Walt Disney colours… Do you remember those 10 minute shows which showed every conceivable character and every which story- from fairy tales to moral stories and all of which in reassuring subtle shades of colour and taste that made absolutely no effort to teach me the alphabet? Sigh! For those good old times, indeed!

But, coming back to the books I love: maybe I should join a book club and then, maybe, I will find a head like mine- wherein the words on paper run away to make the characters come alive, where the balls of Longbourn really do happen, where little girls actually fight over a tree house and where school girls really do have a sense of honour and keep their promises…


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