Thursday, October 13, 2011


Reading was a passion that started sometime in my childhood. Of course, in the beginning, it was limited to reading Balarama, Poombatta, Balamangalam and other children's publications in Malayalam. But they helped in fostering the habit of reading. And once I mastered the nuances of English, I took to reading English books too; whenever the oppurtunity arose. Hailing from a small village of Kerala, it was not easy to lay one's hand on English books. The school library held a magical aura as I discoverd the world beyond.... Now, as I look back, I realize that we only had a limited time with books there! It was not until we were in higher classes that we were allowed to take books home.

But, having an uncle who had a good collection of books with him, helped a lot. Every time I visited him, I could read a book or two. He never allowed us to take them with us - I had always wondered why! Now, when people borrow books from me and never return them, I know why he was particular about not letting us take them away. Uncle had a good collection of books and I always enjoyed reading them.

It was a delight to read many books - though I cant recall the authors now. Of course, Enid Blyton topped the list and soon I progressed from farm stories and fantasies to Famous Five, Secret Seven, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew... A few friends were kind enough to lend me their books and I am still thankful to them for having done so! As the time passed, the interest only deepened. I got lost in the world that the books opened up for me...

Even today, I love reading. Anything ranging from children's book like Kalikkudukka / Minnaminni (they are in Malayalam for Pre-Nursery kids), weekly magazines or monthly magazines to fiction /non fiction are welcome for me!!! I enjoy Noddy, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia and other similar books the same way I enjoy reading fiction / non fiction. Of late, Alexander Dumas' works like Count of Monte Cristo,and Black Tulip fascinated the reader in me. So did numerous other Indian authors like Chetan Bhagat, Arvind Adiga, Vikas Swarup, Amish Tripathi to name a few. Of Course, there were some books which I felt was a waste of my time and money - the less said about them, the better!

The growing numbers of Indian authors is heartening - but many of the titles had almost the same back drop of colleges / IITs / IIMs and same type of love stories that it has become rather boring to read them! But the fact is that simple stories in simple language are finding more and more readers. That doesn't mean the classics are unreadable. Sometimes, these simple stories make up light reading...

There is a lot of books to read out there.... and the thrill of starting a new book is something different... Sometimes when I read a book second time, it offers me a different perspective... This is more true in the case of Spiritual books.

Books have become a constant companion now. I invariably pack a book wherever I go. Sometimes, I read the book from the collection of our hosts or resort to my book if there is none. Life without books is unimaginable.... it would be difficult to live!

It is my reading habit that has given me the courage and inspiration to keep writing my blog. It is because I love reading that I enjoy reading other blogs too. I believe that there is always something worthwhile to read about!!!  Happy reading to all my fellow readers!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A walk in the trees

After many years - perhaps a decade- I took time to roam around the surroundings at home and was instantly lost in the natural beauty... When others cut beautiful lawns and build boundary walls to make their homes more beautiful, we believe in giving nature a free hand. As a result, there is a lush green cover -especially after the rains - and a wide variety of plant and insect life thriving around the place. To add to it, the pond offers water and also some fish for the birds (like kingfisher or a heron).. 

As I wandered along in the shrubbery, I noticed at least six or seven different varieties of butterflies, many birds, and even an owl. Supposedly owls cannot see in the morning; but this fellow could easily fly from one tree to another as I tried to get a closer look and capture its picture...he was quite fast too! I lay in wait for the kingfisher; but was disappointed as not even one of the two types showed up...

As I moved around trying to click snaps of butterflies, I came across colorful spiders, bugs, dragon flies and what not! If the wild life people gets a whiff of it, they might declare the area as protected zone!!! I was told  that a few days ago, the national bird too had shown much interest in taking up a residence out there... 

The birds chirping happily, squirrels scurrying along butterflies dancing around, frogs jumping into water at the sound of  footsteps, colorful wild flowers and foliage... all transported me into a wonderful world of nature... As I sat lost in it, I felt a great deal of peace within. I, once again, felt close to all the trees and plants there. I recalled how I used to run around them and spend most of my free time in their company than indoors... I have climbed trees, fell a few times too; lied under their shade, catapulted into the waters of the pond, spend hours swimming in and playing in water or just sat watching the birds and insects around until someone comes looking for me.... 

I had roamed around the place without inhibitions, dreamed my dreams under the canopy of grandfather trees, lived life with no worries and always content at heart! 

Now, as I relived all those moments, it filled in me a new hope, dreams and aspirations... I feel at peace and content - once again!

Of Little Trips and Great Learnings

The other day, we (some staff, volunteers and service users of Mary Seacole House, Liverpool) went on a day trip to Llangollen. This wasn&#...