In Search Of A Voice

At the beginning of the week, I thought I would try my hand at this week’s writing challenge… I’ve been wanting to write about my favourite author for such a long time. But it’s been a rather busy week… Perhaps I’ll write about that some other time. For now, I present to you… Mr Bond, Ruskin Bond.

The Night Train At Deoli

I read short stories by Ruskin Bond as a child. A collection of such stories, was the very first book that I asked my parents to buy for me.

Even when I was well into my adolescence, and adulthood, I continued to read, and re-read his stories. This of course makes me wonder if I’ve really grown up… But that is a different matter.

Ruskin Bond’s stories, at least the ones I have read, have often been about personal experiences. My favourite ones are those where the author writes as the main protagonist, and narrates events in first person. Filled with nostalgia, the stories portray a wide range of emotions. The author weaves such beautiful stories around everyday events.

‘The Night Train At Deoli and other stories’ is my all time favourite – which is one of the books that I exchanged  with my friend. I’ve always wondered if I inadvertently write in a similar manner. But even though Ruskin Bond’s stories have left a huge impact on me, I will not dare say that I write in a similar style – no one can.

Most of what I have written, is based on my experiences.  Strictly speaking, I do not write fiction, and I know that I do not write factual accounts of everything. In fact, this blog was never intended for writing! I had a few images that I wanted to post on-line – so that I could share them with people more easily. I’m not an artist or a photographer. I’m not a dedicated writer, and I have no specific topic on which I write.

As I write this post, I am left wondering what my blog is really about. Perhaps one day, I will figure out what exactly I’m trying to do. Then, perhaps the blog will be a lot more organised than it is right now.

Until then, I will continue searching for my voice.

Dear reader, if you have any thoughts regarding what it is that I write about, please help me organise this little space. What do you think this blog is all about?


The Book Exchange

After years of internet addiction, I found myself doubting my ability to read a physical book. Is it possible to go back to reading a paper book – cover to cover?

Books On A Shelf
Books On A Shelf

Travelling by train, after many years, was, at once, both exciting, and disheartening. We were to be confined to the train for a total of 60 hours. No access to a computer, or the internet. It was a welcome break. But that meant I’d have to find something else to do… Perhaps read a book?

I stared at the long row of bookshelves – there were perhaps close to two hundred books. Comprehensive books on all aspects of business, a twenty four-volume set on crafts, course material on computer science, old and yellowing documentation on world history, several rather heavy books purchased through mail offers, essays on English literature, general knowledge, several abridged (poorly edited) children’s illustrated classics, and an assortment of books on health, spirituality, philosophy, and even palmistry!

Sandwiched in between these books, were some books I recognised. Some purchased, some gifted, and some inherited – all with a particular memory attached. The weathered ‘As You Like It’, which I had requested my parents to buy so that I could read it during the summer vacations. The ‘Little Women’ that my aunt had gifted me for my tenth birthday, with a handwritten note inside. The unabridged ‘Pride and Prejudice’, which I had already read thrice!

For the past several years, bringing books had been, unofficially, banned. But if I brought them temporarily, it wouldn’t hurt – much. So two days before our departure, I struck a deal with a friend of mine. We were going to have a book exchange!

On the staircase of a busy metro station, to the amusement of passengers, two girls sat, chatting – catching up on each other’s lives, pondering over some serious topics, and, at times, giggling uncontrollably. As the evening wore on, we decided to call it a day and presented our books to each other.

On the way back, I stared at the paper bag – six books. I hadn’t read a book – cover to cover – for several years. The only exception being textbooks. I began doubting myself. Would I be able to read through even one book, leave alone six? I picked one up and started reading the first paragraph. I felt uneasy. I couldn’t comprehend it. I read it again. I heard the train approaching the platform, and shut the book.

At home, I lined up the books, alongside the other things, I was to pack into the suitcase. There is something about a book, which has been read by a friend, which has a worn out cover, and whose pages are yellow. After pacing up and down a few times, I picked one up. Just a few pages…

A little while later, I looked up at the clock. It was well past dinner time. Everyone had finished eating, and the packing up, for the journey, had commenced.

Time had flown by, and just like that, I had given myself up to a fictitious world. My surroundings changed, I left reality behind. The repeated calls for dinner, had fallen on deaf ears. I was blissfully unaware of the mounting anxiety around the house, as everyone was packing up their suitcases. I just read.

I do not recall ever sitting and reading, without falling asleep. I had doubted my ability to read. And now, I was devouring a book like a ravenous beast.

Before I knew it, I’d finished three-quarters of the book, and nothing, but the realisation that there were only a few hours left for our departure, could part me from the book! I packed the books in, and couldn’t wait to finish reading my newly acquired books.