Dag Hammarskjold’s book – Markings – was a birthday gift from Prof Farhat Mahmood on Dec,2,1966.
Every body used to think I was a very “parhaku” ( one whose only love was book reading) person. He also had given me a nick name – The wise one – which I hated. I mean come on, what kind of a young girl would like to be called this heavy duty term of endearment? But – what can I say. Even my high school Graduation gift from one of my cousins was a box full of old English Classics. Why did every one think I was some kind of a Buddha !
I have a habit. I always open the book on the last page to see what the book has to offer – is it worth a read – worth buying? So I opened this book on the last page and a few pages later I found that I was simply in love with this simple “markings” of a tormented soul. Well that is how I thought about this book then.
This book was a rare find in those days so whoever came to know about this gift, started making borrowing requests. I am not ashamed to confess that I am one of the stingiest person when it comes to books. I do not believe in borrowing or lending books because of my experience in this regard. I did let some friends borrow this book though, but not before getting a written promise that it would be returned on such and such date.
When I got married, I left, among my other few personal belongings, my book collection at my mother’s house to shift them to my new home later but my husband got a job offer from outside the country and this book transferring delayed. Finally when I was ready I was shocked to know that all my books had now new ownerships! I was upset but didn’t say anything. One day I spotted Markings in one of the new owner’s book shelf.
Calmly I took the book out , showed it to the person and brought it home with me. At last!
I love these markings. I take out the book when the mood strikes. Find a quiet corner and immerse myself in this spiritual ‘reflecting pond’ :
In the small hours:
Have I done right?
Why did I act
Just as I did?
Over and over again
The same steps
The same words:
Never the answer.
By : Dag Hammarskjold