Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sealed With A Loving Kiss...

Maybe it is old age creeping up on me. I just recently found out that it has become almost impossible for me to comfortably get a piece of A4 paper and a pen and write something decent in a legible handwriting. In fact, with age (and I am yet to hit 40 where supposedly life begins) my handwriting is becoming worse and worse, to the point where I can hardly read my own handwriting! Ok, let me not be so melodramatic, about 10 years of typing on the computer has made my handwriting almost non existent. And yet it has always not been so.

Growing up I was a prolific letter writer. I wrote and received lots of letters from friends and family. During my college days, there was no email (at least not in the form that we know it today) and a mobile phone is not something one came across casually. I never even imagined that the word sms will become part and parcel of everyday vocabulary. Letters are what kept me in touch with family and friends. I took A4 foolscaps and wrote long letters, in clear legible handwriting. Stories were told, love professed and frustration and advised meted out in handwritings. There is nothing I enjoyed like the sound of the post man calling out my name at the gate, or turning the key into the post box and finding it full with letters for you. It was equally disappointing when you found the post box empty! Nowadays I just text, write an email, tweet something or tag you on a photo on facebook.

And over years, I kept all the letters that I ever received - right from the teenage crush I had to my dad asking me to take my college studies seriously to encouragements from my sister. Aerogrammes, stamps from different countries, envelopes of different colours and designs...When I was much older, at times, during moments of boredom when one ransacks stuff in the house aimlessly, I would open some of these letters and read them. Some were from friends now dead. Others funny. Others sealed with lipsticks from long forgotten girlfriends(Dearest Charles, SWALK -Sealed With A Loving Kiss...). A couple of years back when I was moving house, I discovered that my wife had burned all my letters. She said it was a mistake but I always suspected that she did not want old relationships sitting somewhere in the house as we began a new life...



Kids, this is what an aerogramme looks like!


PS: I wonder whether my dad still has the old telegrams I sent to him while I was in college. Almost all of them had just three words. SEND MONEY URGENTLY. I wonder whether kids nowadays know what I am talking about...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blast From The Past - Books To Re-Read

The thing with having a demanding job, two demanding daughters and a host of blogs to read is that one rarely has time to read books. This, coupled with having picked up a few boring books over the last few years has meant that reading has become even more tedious. Especially reading fiction! I was today reading the blog Beanbag Tales on some of the books on love that the blogger will be reading this love month, and suddenly I remembered some of the novels I considered classics when I was growing up. I started reading very early, when I was 8 years old I was stealing Enid Blyton books from the local library, and by the time I was about 12 or 13 years I was done with the Hardy Boys (and *whispering* Nancy Drew) series. I will not easily admit it when questioned by I even read the James Hardley Chase and Mills & Boon series and by the time I was 15, I could not read any novel below 500 pages. But it was when I had all the time in world -- that is college -- that I really did indulge myself in reading. I read an average of about 3 novels a week, especially during the hot Udaipur summers. The following is a list of titles that I read then that I considered the mothers of novels (classics excluded) and that I have decided I am going to read again this year -- about 13 years later!



I read this book in 1995, and then read it again that same year -- The only other book I ever read by Anthony Grey was Peking but it never came close to this. Surprised I have not heard of a movie version of this.



The image of Howard Roak was in my head for days after reading this book. I never read it again but last year I got to read Atlas Shrugged. I still prefer The Fountainhead



I got this novel just after I had finished high school, and this was because they were showing the series on television but the TV timing was not good for me. I don't know whether I will find it a bit cheesy now that I am no longer a teenager but nevertheless let me give it a try. I never read any other book by her so I don't know if she was a good writer...



I read quite a number of books by Erich Seagal but this was the standout. It was the monsoon season in 1995, I had no option but to stay indoors and read and this book happened to be laying about...



I was never really a fan of Harold Robbins but after graduating from the James Hardley Chase type of books, this was the first "big" book I read, mostly the book placed under the table during Maths lessons. Good thing I was seated at the back of the classroom. I also never let people in on what I scored in Maths....



A friend gave me this book but I did not think it was worth reading and kept it in the house for a few days. I only picked it up because I had run out of materials to read. Let's just say that I found it hard to put it down after a few chapters. I remember dreaming about the characters in my dream. Does anyone know if it was ever made into a movie?

I would also like to get some recommendations from you (for fiction that is) on books that you read years ago and would love to read again...