I had started writing from a very early age. They were mostly school assignments but my style and imagination would turn it into … at least not the usual, factual, dry and dull essay.This always earned me good grades. Though I still had to struggle with my Math.
I had started reading from even an earlier age. A very quiet, loner by nature, somewhat neglected child of a very social mother , I had started reading when I was four. How did it happen? I have no clue. This earned me the nickname “paRhaku”.
I was certainly a little older than four when I was given a ‘thonk’ on my ear for being caught reading ‘ Sultana Daku ‘ 🙂
We were visiting some relatives in Mochi Gate. All the elders were visiting, comparing notes, joking, laughing, sharing ‘hukka, having fun. A very fine smell of tobacco was hanging in the air and I was sitting docilely on a big bolster when my mother asked me to go play with other children. ( I loved tobacco smell – I still do. The only condition is – it has to be of good quality. Then I can sit with the person for hours, even knowing it is as bad as smoking)
I got up, strayed in the house and finally landed in the host’s library.
I was lying down on my stomach, my feet up in the air, my chin resting on the back of my hands, the book opened and supported against another heavy book resting on the carpet when suddenly the book was snatched.
“what is it?” It was my brother, forbidding – as always.
” kitab” I said.
” I can see that but what kitab? hooN, hooN.. lets see … Sultana Daku ??” his tone was too threatening.
I got up and made a beeline to the door.
” wait”. he said.
Now a brother, ten years your senior, tells you to wait then you have no other choice but to wait and be prepared for – whatever is in store for you.
” if I ever again catch you reading books, you would be sorry that you did. You only read ‘Hidayat’ and “phool” that abba has subscribed for you. That is it. Understand?”
I nodded my head and ran out of the library.
Did I stick to his “recommendations?”
You bet I didn’t.
Tuesday Feb 19,2013