This is Me ( Camp Rock) Click on link to play
`I am going to write you short accounts of the story of our earth and the many countries, great and small, into which it is dividedI hope [these] will make you think of the world as a whole and of other people in it as our brothers and sisters . . .‘
Letters from a father to his daughter by Jawaharlal Nehru
I remember my maternal grandparents’ sprawling house in Calcutta. It was filled with books. Hardcover, paperback, first editions. It was an eclectic collection — books picked up from pavement shops in Calcutta, College Street, Park Street… Many were bought at discounted prices soon after the Second World War. There were classics from around the world. And yes, Russian novels –family favourites. I grew up with books. I didnot have the fear of classics, because no one told me to read them. I saw them lying around — dog-eared, well-thumbed. When I was very small, I picked up books to find out how they smell. There were no ‘do’s’ or ‘don’ts’ about books. I read whatever I could lay my hands on, and whenever. Sometimes it was for pleasure. Sometimes out of boredom. And sometimes, out of curiosity – like the time I picked up Studies in the Psychology of Sex by Havelock Ellis, the Victorian sexologist . I think I was 11 or 12, perhaps younger. I didnot understand much of the dense, technical prose and remember asking my mother to explain a paragraph to me. My mother, the clever one, deadpanned in scientific language ( her speciality). I lost interest. Sex was a subject not to be mystified….. Children ask questions about sex, just as they ask about the stars and the moon. With both parents of scientific bent of mind, I grew up, firmly believing no question was taboo. But the answer would/could vary accoring to time and occasion.
Cut to 2010, and the challenges of parenting. We have Nehru’s classic at home. I presented a copy to Anoushka, my daughter, when she was nine. She has probably glanced at it, even read parts of it. But literature, like heritage, cannot be rammed down one’s throat. I have decided I am going to improvise on Nehru’s tactics. I will blog to my daughter when I am in the mood, sharing stuff which I fancy. It is a free world — read it, listen to it if you like, and only if you like.