Rediscovering a joy from childhood

Posted on January 28, 2018


My childhood was spent reading all the time. A.L.L T.H.E T.I.M.E. So much so that my mother had to ration my reading time. When I went home to India this time, my aunt was telling her granddaughter that she never saw me without a book and how I used to take my lunch/dinner to my bedroom and eat while reading.

But all that had become past tense for me for a while. I can trace this back to 2011. I moved to Chicago from India after getting married. Had my own apartment. Got my first smart TV with Netflix on it. Had no job thanks to American immigration laws. So, a lot of free time + my own apartment + full control over the remote = Grey’s Anatomy marathon. And let’s not forget that I came from India, where books were cheap and bookstores were welcoming spaces. The cost of books (and haircuts) in the West is appalling! So, Netflix and my smart phone became my new best friends.

In fact, from 2012 to 2016, I barely read 20 books. In 2017, I began making more of an effort to read. I bought used versions of books that I had enjoyed in the past and began to rediscover my passion for reading. I began to average a book a month. Not bad for my smart-phone addicted self. Since December 2017, I have read 7 books.

I just began my 4th book for the month of January 2018. It’s been rewarding! I have enjoyed being sleepless as I turn page after page, compulsively. And last night, I picked up Mark Tully’s “India in Slow Motion.” For those who don’t know him, Tully was the Bureau Chief of the BBC for 20 years, with the stint ending in 1992. He writes about India with a passion and unbiased opinion combined with the classic British way of describing scenes which leaves one wanting more.


As I lay in bed, romancing my book. I felt joy surge through my heart. The first story was about the demolition of the Babri Masjid, a historic mosque from the time of Emperor Babar by Hindu fundamentalists. While the story was about a terrible event, the writing was very engaging. I knew Sid would love this style of writing. And suddenly an idea came to me. Sid loves to listen to podcasts as he falls asleep. I asked him if he wanted me to read to him! He said yes!

And I began reading aloud the enthralling words. I used intonation and pitch changes for effect. I was transported. From my bed to my primary school classroom. I used to wait for teachers to ask us to read aloud; I loved it — I was really good at it. As an average student, it wasn’t often that I got the attention of teachers or received any particular praise for school stuff. But for my reading skills, yea, it was pretty sweet. I was the narrator for plays sometimes and I loved telling stories. As an adult, through my work with children and adolescents, I got to use my passion for storytelling. But it has been years, may be 7 years, since I have told or read a story aloud. I guess, to people who have children, this is a natural phenomenon. But to someone like me, who enjoys being childless and has this talent and passion, it was a great reminder that I love reading aloud!

I kept asking Sid if he was listening, and he was. Very unusual for him as he falls asleep within minutes of a podcast. I read 12 pages of the story before my throat gave up and he was snoring softly.

I finished reading my story and I went to bed feeling close to Sid and very comforted with a precious childhood memory emerging so unexpectedly last night.

Posted in: Books and Movies