Ticket to the land of dreams

reading

I was brought up in a city where Hindustani was spoken with pride and finesse. I also had two  very dear grand moms, with whom I spend a lot of my time, and they spoke the sweetest Awadhi. My grandfather read and wrote fluent Urdu, since that was the official language of communication back then, and my mom had a doctorate in Sanskrit.

The Queen’s English was definitely not top of the pile for me.

However my forward-thinking parents eager to give me a good start, put me in the best Convent School of the city that came with imported nuns :-). The school was situated almost on the outskirts of the city and my mom tells me she had to brave many a snide comment from busybodies. (Sending the kids away to study in the jungle!! And such small babies at that!). She listened to no one. A scholar herself, studying was/is her passion.

Amidst running a house and the scores of demands of a joint family she made time to listen and practice the language with me. However I remained far from perfect. By the time I turned 6 or 7 my problems must have been apparent.

Nobody knows that I .. was so bad at English my parents were summoned to school. I remember clearly that feeling of absolute dread while I waited with my father in the school parlour. As it turned out my teacher had a treat in store for me – I was told to read. Not school books but storybooks! Delight of delights!!

In a family where academics were highly valued, leisure reading was looked down upon as a waste of time. And there my teacher had prescribed just that for me.

I couldn’t have been happier.

The first book I remember my father getting me, was one of Shakespear’s plays adapted as short stories. It was all plain pages and heavy text with perhaps a single black and white sketch for each story. And I loved it – As You like it, Twelfth Night, King Lear, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Merchant of Venice – I read them all and I still remember some of them only from that tiny book. And so holding onto the hand of the Bard I began my reading journey.

Perhaps it was that teacher’s concern and the fact that my parents valued and followed her advice that set me off on this delightful tryst with books.

For that I shall forever be grateful.

*******

Linking up to Blogadda’s  Write Over the Weekend (WOW)  prompt 
‘Nobody knows that I..’

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24 thoughts on “Ticket to the land of dreams

  1. Zephyr

    What an interesting introduction to reading and books! It set me off on a nostalgic trip way way back in time when I sat in the room in my grandparents’ house surrounded by books, and trying to read books way beyond my years 🙂 Loved the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Thanks Zephyr. I did that too. My aunt was a reader and had left her books when she got married. I read whatever I could lay my hands on – some of it was definitely before time, some would have completely scandalised my parents too. I had to re-read the books much later to actually appreciate and understand them. Yet it is better than not reading at all.

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  2. Shailaja V

    I love posts like this which give us a peek into your life without letting on what it was about. How fascinating to be told to read more and looks like you took it to heart too and how! Loved this, Tulika.

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    Reply
    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Thanks Shailaja. I sure did. There were plenty of factors that propelled both my sister and I to reading and our school had a big part to play in shaping out reading habits.

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  3. Rekha @ Dew Drops

    Wow! That was a beautiful start to a reading journey. Though I believe that kids have to be introduced to reading, I don’t believe in forcing them to do so. It should start by itself, full of interest and excitement. My firstborn wasn’t interested in reading when she was five. That’s when we (especially the husband) started reading out stories garnished with his own additions to her. And that made her want to pick up book by herself. Force feeding doesn’t appeal to me, be it food or books.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Rekha believe me one cannot force kids these days. I have tried all I can with little luck. I started reading to them when they are barely two, our house is strewn with books, I buy the most interesting, easy to read ones for them – yet they haven’t taken to it. They do love stories and even now listen with complete attention if I tell them one. I’m, hoping some day their love will propel them to read.

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  4. Lata Sunil

    How much I would love to listen and learn some beautiful Hindustani? Something we do not have in Mumbai which is a mish-mash of Marathi / Hindi /Gujarati and what not. But I remember some of my colleagues from Lucknow who speak beautiful, chaste Hindi. Always a pleasure to hear.
    Loved your story of learning English.

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    Reply
    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Thanks Lata – that’s the city of my birth :-). Happy to hear there are others who’re keeping the language alive. I love how Hindi, English and Urdu all co-exist beautifully.

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  5. Vinay Leo R.

    We’ve a common thread in that it was a teacher who helped us to set off on a tryst with books. Even now, some of my relatives look down upon reading for leisure, and want me to read the academic books. I ignore them for the most part, but when they try to push their viewpoints on me too much, it gets on my nerves.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Cheers to wonderful teachers Vinay and Boo!! to people who look down on reading as a hobby.

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  6. shanayatales

    You started with Shakespeare?! Wow! Why did I not have teachers like that? I started much much later, and no, not with Shakespeare, but Harry Potter. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      Ha ha Shantala it wasn’t like I was reading him in the original. I must have been about 7 and these were tiny abridged stories. As I see it, Harry Potter is great place to start. In fact ANY place at all is a great place to start. What say?

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      That’s a blessing alright. If a kids loves a library there’s nothing better than that.

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    1. Beat About The Book Post author

      So was ours. I would never have read but for my school, the teachers, the library and a very special librarian. That’s a whole post in itself.

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  7. Pingback: Favorite February Posts + Meet & Greet | A Texan's View of Upstate New York

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