Brethren of Beloved Books

Books have always been my best friends since my childhood. Though I didn't specifically buy them, I treasured the ones I got as gifts and prizes at school. I read and reread them. I was afraid to lend them to my friends, chances were high they might lose them and return only the apologies and not the books. But it did happen one day. A cousin with his own huge collection asked for my storybook. Putting myself in his position and understanding that there is nothing called 'enough books', I lent the book to him. I never got my book back. It was a thin, long book about 20 pages, an illustrated version of a story about a crow and the bread crumbs it followed. Maybe it was 'Hansel and Gretel', but couldn't relate to it. I searched bookstores, and even now after the advent of the internet, used keywords to track the book online, but nothing reminded me of the story in my book. I was heartbroken.

After that, the other books were all stored in a secret location, until recently. I was forced to give away my precious childhood possessions during my house shifting. I was tricked into this by saying that someone will love them much more than I do. My collection included the hard copy of “Bunny Tales - A collection of bedtime stories”, The Hound of Baskervilles, The Great Expectations, Sarada Devi’s biography (Illustrated), The Black Beauty, Gulliver’s Travels, English textbooks of all my schooling days and a few more.

I never faced the problem of giving away my school textbooks or readers, as we called it then, as they were mandatory for everyone to have at school. But my collection so tender and yet profound should need a proper owner. So after careful consideration, I gave them to my maid’s kids. They were around 5-7 years old and will find a friend among the Big Ear and the Long Foot Bunnies.

In our family, textbooks were revered. That is why they were passed to everyone year after year for 4-5 years till they reach the end with the entry of new syllabus. Or maybe it was just a cost cutting. But will the kids consider my collection worthy to read and reread or will they end up in the dusty attic. I regretted I should have added them to my current collection. I inquired my maid about this and she replied that the kids loved the books especially the illustrated ones. But knowing that they are in good hands, gave me satisfaction.Good, I smiled.

Months passed and it was the rainy season. I was over with my concern about my books. But my world turned upside down when I saw some kids making paper boats with the pages of Great Expectations. I was shattered when the found the book with just its outer cover and no pages. I wouldn’t shout, I couldn’t explain. I simply told them books are to read but not to make paper boats. I gave a serious stare and walked away to the utter disappointment of the kids.

I walked in the same water that was strewn with boats, taking care not to stamp one. They were moving quickly, seemingly happy about the newfound freedom, while I was still trying to figure which page was it and what story happened in it. As I walked in despair, I took the next lane only to find a couple of eager kids scampering in the rain. I stopped and looked at them in awe. They were collecting the paper boats coming from the previous lane, unfolding them, wiping them on the dry towel and drying them in the veranda. I smiled a big smile. Here continues my legacy and I knew where my books would go from now on. They were the kids from the neighboring building and thus we became soul mates. What you deserve you get. A person gets a proper book and book gets a proper owner.

The Daughter That Changed The Course

When they said shh and shh, she laughed a little lower
As she grew up, they trained her to cover.
Why she didn’t ask, why they didn’t say!

Aside they said when the son brought a trophy,
While the bigger one she brought lay astray.
They gave her clothes but not the best,
They gave her education but not the best,
Because only the son shone among the rest,
Because a daughter is anyway meant to depart.

Kind they were all in bringing her up,
Just intended her life to bring her kids up.
They bought a wife to their son too,
Taking the victim and the ransom too.
And made another generation start,
While the previous' effort stood shamefully halt.

The poor daughter sought freedom in marriage,
Alas! But entered the similar arena.
Neither her father nor her mother,
Neither her husband nor his mother,
Did attempt to search for her happiness.

While they thought she had the best life,
They were not a pinch aware of her strife.
To survive is what they thought her life should be,
To live is what she learned from them.

She didn’t duck her face anymore,
The daughter that laughed lowly,
Now showed her kids to laugh loudly.
At times when education was bare minimal,
She made it a home ritual.
The daughter that dressed for others,
Taught them to dress for themselves.

She defied the elders, broke the rules,
Created chaos, left the old fate behind
And created one with her own hands.
She tasted the freedom she had longed for,
For in her own hands, it lurked!