Know the feeling you get when you walk into your favourite store with gift coupons to be spent on whatever takes your fancy! The delicious sense of anticipation, the excitement of browsing the shelves, the difficult decision making…should you get clothes? Something for the house? Toiletries or accessories? You spend a happy time wandering and comparing before you make up your mind. You go home happy with a bag of goodies–an afternoon well spent!
That is just the feeling I get when I go to a library! Faced with an array of books, what could be more fun than to browse? What do I feel like this month—something light and happy? Something thrilling and gripping? Something serious and profound? A favourite familiar author? Best seller or Booker winner? Decisions, decisions!
This wonderful feeling has been a part of my life ever since I fell in love with books. The B.C. Roy Children’s Reading Room, more familiarly known as Shankar’s Children’s Library—a haven through the hot Delhi summer vacations; Grover’s hole-in-the-wall lending library in the neighbourhood market where one graduated from Archie comics to Mills and Boons! The American Centre library where one discovered the classics and the contemporary.
Moving cities, the first thing one looked for was the nearest library. In Nairobi it took the form of the next-door neighbour’s collection of crime and detective fiction which kept the suspense going! In Ahmedabad it was Raju’s circulating library that provided a menu of “time-pass” options. And now the British Library beckons every month. At the rate of 4-5 books a month, I seem to be running out of books to borrow. Panic!
But till then, every day is World Book Day for me!