The world of books

The annual book festival held at place grounds is something I look forward to, apart from a variety of book exhibitions that I religiously attend throughout the year. A couple of years ago I managed to drag along a colleague who does not even peek into any books other than mathematics, which she taught at college.
I move from store to store collecting books keeping in mind the age of my kids. The charm of nursery rhymes and fairy tales have never faded from the time I’ve been introduced to it. My elder one just loves the Potter series, though I don’t approve of her reading too much of them.

But nostalgia engulfs me when I enter the stores that have books of authors that I studied during my school days. Dickens’ ‘David Copper Field’ introduced in the VIIth, never fails to arouse a lump in my throat. ‘As You Like It’, the next year was equally exciting for the teacher and the taught. ‘Mid-summer’s Night Dreams’ and Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ were taught in the IXth. Darcy’s handsome looks and the invariable romance lurking in the background between him and Elizabeth edged us to read ahead. Some of us turned to the last pages as we could not restrain ourselves. ‘The man eater of Malgudi’, by R K Narayan, found us in Malgudi with our arms up against Vasu and happy when he brought his own end.
What saddens me is that my children are not fortunate enough to have these kinds of books and the breed of teachers that have left an ever lasting impression on us to pass them on. The children are deprived of the rich texts that were a part of the school syllabus some decades ago.

People who value books will definitely see to it that their school books are in tact to be passed on to the generations to come. I still rely on my old Wren & Martin, and my book of poems — ‘The Panorama’, and so will my children.
Privileged are we to have had spacious classrooms and enormous grounds. Today houses are converted into schools, hardly any light enters the dingy classrooms, the only open space that the schools have is the portico of the house, yet the schools have students from primary to high school. What a pity!

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