Saturday, August 17, 2019

In dialogue with Ruskin Bond

"One best book is equal to hundred good friends but one good friend is equal to library."
                                                                                                       -A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

I’m grateful to have a good friend, Swathi who introduced the world of books to me. Even though I had books around me, neither I acknowledged their presence nor bothered to check them out. In 2010, I met Swathi and Susmitha at my last school.  Both Swathi and Susmitha are the reason why I tried checking out the books. I only had the role of listener whenever they talked about the books.
Do not know what made them to try their best in suggesting me some good books. I was given a couple of Sidney Sheldon books. I started them and finished them taking my own time. Though I didn’t like the long time I took to finish a small book, I enjoyed the reading.
Interested to gift the things Swathi loves, I started searching for her favorites. I was browsing titles like Little Women, Pride and Prejudice but never bothered to read by myself. I acknowledged the presence of the classics then. I was understanding the diversity of genres in books then.
On my 16th birthday, Swathi gifted me, ‘The Spirit of Music, book by A.R.Rahman.’

I was elated to receive such a gift from Swathi. I didn’t mind to sit and read it at one stretch. I completed it. And I was quenched enough to have the book with me all the time rereading the same words. I liked the experience of reading his thoughts, words in a book. Unlike an article, the book seemed to be a journey where I witness his life experiences for a good amount of time.

Comes 17th birthday, Swathi gifted me, ’The Man who knew Infinity by Robert Kanigel,’ ‘Life in Words by Rabindranath Tagore.’ (I hinted her for these books to have the experience of reading their thoughts in words.)

I’m not sure If I’d have the same interest in picking books, if not I received as the gifts. Swathi continued talking about books. And that kindled me to read more books on the subjects I loved.

Swathi is one friend who is equal to more than a library for, she helped me to see the world of books and enjoy them.

Today, I met Ruskin Bond. And asked him, “Can you please autograph to my friend who introduced books to me.”

He asked out the name. “Swathi,” I said.

Didn’t want to tell I’m a writer. I didn’t want to tell about my works but, I wanted to tell about my friend Swathi.  Sharing about her with Bond seemed important rather than any of my achievements. As a reader, I wanted to share how I got introduced to the world of books and then his books which helped me to enjoy the life.

Listening to my story, R.B gently smiled and handed over the book writing out a simple message with an autograph.   

Thanks Ruskin Bond for the autograph. Thanks Swathi. Wish you keep gifting me books ;)

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