Libraries at London

I still remember the longing days when I was so obsessed with libraries and literally found none near to my home. We were the residents of Northern most part of Chennai where if you enquire about libraries, people would give you this scornful look. Library is something totally unheard of. In these parts, people have the notion that one would go to library if he were jobless. Moore market is the most we could have if we are so desperate for books. This is not exactly a library, but a place where you can get some precious books at cheaper price.

If I get so fanatical about book then I would travel to Purashavakkam in the scorching sun to visit Easwari Lending library, which was a saviour those days. So a visit to a library would cost me half of the day and I always feel so tired after coming back. Nevertheless, that library still holds special place in my heart. Then I bought the ebook reader after which my visit to that library gradually reduced.

After coming to London, the most tempting thing it offered was the numerous local libraries. Believe me, each local library here is 3-4 times bigger than the Easwari Lending library there at Chennai. And they have brilliant collection of books. This includes Tamil book as well. All the books are free. I can take up to 4 books and keep them for 3 weeks. I felt so overwhelmed. To top it all, this local library is just 5 min walk from my home.

People here just love reading. Just like Iphone, Kindle keeps everyone busy here. I am so surprised about this and I always wondered how everyone got into this habit.

Last week I took my daughter to the library just to give her the taste of the place. The library has very good collection of baby books. I took a book for my baby. While checking it out, the librarian said, I need to get separate card for kids. And using that kids could take up to ten books each time. I said Wow! And soon enrolled my daughter for it.

While my dear played with the kid’s books, I fetched four more books for her and went to the librarian again. The polite lady, on seeing my enthusiasm said – You know, we encourage kids here to read a lot. Whenever you return the baby books, we will track the number of books she reads and upon reaching certain limits we will give her a certificate to motivate her to read more books. There she said it beautifully!!!

Now I understood, how here reading has become an inbuilt habit. How much I long for these things to happen at Chennai. Sigh!

On Reading..

Of many things that I missed lately, reading catches the top spot. It is so heart wrenching to see my precious reading habit degrading rapidly. My Shelfari account says I have read only 9 books this year, which was a horrendous figure, compared to the last year count of 77 books. It is asking me to plan properly and reset this year goal, as if that would help. It’s all so painful.

Besides the EBook reader which I bought last year, successfully stopped me from buying any books outside. That almost shattered my dream of owning a small library sometime soon. Though Ebook readers are good to hunt and read rare books, it has become a nuisance in its own way. Each time when I stumble across a book, I will say to myself that I will read the ebook first before I invest on hard copy. Most apparently it never happened.

Also, I stopped visiting library and the Moore market (near central railway station). A year back, these two spots were shrine for me. Now it became history.

Desperate to get back my reading back, I have been forcing myself to read books in spite of me yawning for every 5 minutes. To my surprise I completed 3 books in past three weeks. One of which is “The Calcutta Chromosome” by Amitav Ghosh. This is a sort of book that you read on for hours only to find yourself in utter chaos. The story was more confusing than the movie ‘Inception’ I watched last year. If someone had read this book, kindly explain me the story please …. Nevertheless I would say I enjoyed the book. Mr.Ghosh has superior talent in writing. It is just that I am too average to read his books!

Something interesting

Even if you are least bit interested in reading, do check these links. It will entertain you.

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Even though, now trains are not my regular mode of transport, once it was. I used to travel endlessly to reach other end of city those days. With not many tools – like a mobile or mp3 player or an ipod – to entertain me, I longed for something to vanquish all the lonely hours before I am starved out of boredom.

It was only in those long train journeys, I met a bunch of girls who were so fascinated by Shidney Sheldon, Dan brown and other authors whose books in general will have a tag line “ From #1 New york times best selling author” . I used to see them discussing and exchanging the books they read. I had often noticed a gleam of most peculiar nature emerge on their face, whenever they discuss books . I was puzzled – or rather troubled- by greed for not having something and someone to debate like this.

One day a thought hit me like a bullet and the same evening I was in the second hand book shop near Moore market purchasing a battered copy of a novel “The Salamander” by Morris west for 20rs/-. My first novel ever! I have still have that book with me.

Gradually books gripped me. I became one of those characters in this post.

Now coming to Chennai local train readers, I am disappointed. I am referring same trains which once had me interested on books. I often travel in ladies compartment and from what I see, the passion for reading has been deeply dipped ever since everyone is occupied with that little monster “Mobile”. People prefer to utilize their train journeys on managing family problems via cell phones. If they lack in family problems, they get happy and hear songs in FM that is played amidst scores of ads.

The last time I saw someone reading a book in train was months back. He read “One night at the call center” by Chetan Bhagat.

Recently, in my office food court, I saw an elderly American lady reading in Amazon Kindle. Amazed by it, I was tempted to grab, to have a good look at the device and the book she was reading. But then, my friend soothed and reminded me that grabbing others reading device may not be a moral thing to do. Hence I suppressed the urge.

Having vented out all these, I want to end the post with the books I am reading now. One is “Education of a wandering man” by Louis L’amour. I came to know about this book here. Next is “Wodehouse on Wodehouse” by PG Wodehouse. Both are sort of auto biography. I am having a great time reading them

Oh! No Newspaper Headlines!

In spite of thinking umpteenth time, still I cannot grasp the mystery behind distressing Newspapers Headlines. Is their any rule that every newspaper should have their front page occupied only with the worst possible news that happened on that day?. I see happy headlines only when India wins a cricket match. 

 

A couple of days back I woke up in the morning feeling “happiest entity” in the world and hoping hereafter my life would be like shining sun. I remember a quote “Man plans, God laughs”. It may be true because the first news I read in the newspaper was “SATYAM: A RS 7000 CRORE LIE”.  Being in a software industry, this one line was enough to crush my bubbling spirit and keep brooding for the rest of the day about my future. Like me, I think everyone was so obsessed by this news that day. Because for the rest of the day SMS, emails, even the coffee break chat were only about SATYAM’s Scandal.

 

I know it is essential for the newspapers to let the whole world know about all the crappy things happening around us. Nevertheless, can’t they place some inspiring, blissful, funny news in the front page and put those disastrous news somewhere in the next page? Is it that hard to find something good in a country like India with billions of population? Of course, there will be some good news in a perfect unnoticeable place in the newspaper but not on the Headlines. The funniest thing is after providing enough terrible news and negativism; at last, you will find articles advising readers on how to keep oneself happy, how to be a optimist, 5 ways to handle stress, and other blah ..blah ……

 

I still wonder how Indian newspapers setup this practice of organizing news. I mean how we (Indians), who are so auspicious and superstitions about everything, who couldn’t bear even a poor cat crossing their way are managing to begin a day with such pathetic news headlines?…Cant the newspapers use some new creative ways to attract the readers ?