Read the Printed Word!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Books, Books and Books - II

This is in continuation to the blog on 29 Sep 10. Then, I was counting the days to move to Mhow for good. I thought I would have all the time in the world; but as the saying goes , ‘Man proposes, God disposes’. After Sep, it is only now I have sat down to write something.
My school had a very-well stocked library, or so it seemed to me as a nine year old. I had opted for Lower Tamil (third language ) and I was the only one in my class to do so. My teacher thought I was actually better at Tamil than the guys who had opted for higher Tamil (second language) and he let me spend the time at the library. That was fun.
I started with children’s books, but soon graduated to short stories and novels. The library had a fair collection of English books and generally one started with famous five & secret seven, and moved on to Perry Mason, Agatha Christie , ‘Sudden’, Alistair MacLean, Nick carter, Arthur Hailey and so on . But barring an odd book from each category, my reading was mostly in Tamil . In Tamil ,we never had any children’s books really. so it was Akilan, kalki, Naa Parthasarathy, Jeyakanthan, Jekachirpiyan, Mu varatharasanar and so on. Then there were the popular women writers like Anuradha Ramanan, Indumathi, Ramani Chandran, Sivasankari, Vaasanthi anuththama, Lakshmi (aka thirupura sundari) . Lakshmi was like mills and boons in Tamil. I admit, I liked reading lakshmi kathai as much as other books. Reading in Tamil was fun, fast and easy. Fortunately for us, our teachers never forced us to read English books nor they forced us to converse in English (as they do nowadays) and in any case I used to score better in English than the “famous five” types. (Penguin’s David Davidar was a classmate of mine and he was a voracious reader; thanks to the high weightage given to grammar, I used to outscore him in exams.)
Moreover lots of books from other Indian languages and some foreign languages were available in Tamil. Many famous Russian novels including War and Peace were available in Tamil. I remember reading “Mother “ by Maxin Gorky when I was in 7th or 8th. I did not learn much about the nuances of the Bolshwik struggle or about communism, but the travails of Pavel Mikhailovich against the Tsar’s regime definitely made some impression.
During that period I read hardly anything other than fiction and biographies. Essentially it was Tamil fiction, but a fiction that covered a whole host of serious contemporary social and political issues of those times.


Anu M said...

Nice post Murali.

Didn't know DD was a classmate.

colmurali said...


Anonymous said...

by an accident,i read ur blog,in which u had said that u like reading novels of lakshmi.that's the same with me too.i used to sneak-peek in to my mom's collection of books those days and ended up reading a lot of lakshmi's books.The writer chooses the words so well that even now i remember some stories as things happened in my family.but i forgot the names of it.if u can let me know where can i get to read those books now.i am in bangalore and if u have little time left,pls let me know where can i get those books here or else in chennai or is it available online!

colmurali said...

@karthika Let there be more such accidents ! I am surprised that I have admitted to reading 'lakshmi' novels..(it is not something that men like to admit).I had vowed to be absolutely truthful in this blog. anyway I am mailing a list of titles and may be a pdf file to your ID.