THE BEST GIFT

Finally that special transit of the year has come, the concluding part of old academic session and beginning of a fresh new session. It is that time of the year when I have to create some space for the new comers: the fresh books and stationery. For the past 13 years it’s been a routine agenda of my life. I love this interlude between the two academic sessions when I get to trespass and tread on the otherwise “no-admission-without-permission” space, i.e. my dear son’s cupboard of books! Barging in his space of fantasies and wonders of imagination! You know it’s easy to floss with barbed wire than to intrude over an adolescent’s books and library.
I feel like reliving the year that has passed, reviving some happy and some frustrated academic moments. The remnants (in the form of papers and books) of all those school-based and co curricular activities you did with your child with valor and enthusiasm, the tremendous efforts and the burden he took, the stress he sustained with great perseverance, and the aura of his hard work, all of these can be felt in those books and note books which are going to be scrap now.
After completing the task of clearing unwanted old books and cleaning the academic book’s cupboard, I turned to my sons library. Earlier till last year it was the most special “our” space we shared and cherished together, but now our tastes and likings are a bit apart and understanding the necessity of time my husband lovingly created a separate library cabinet with lots of space for our son! He has a small noble collection of about 800 books. Now the best part of going and rummaging through his cupboards is those tiny little surprises stacked in the corners of the cupboards in the form of small note books or sheets of papers with some literary exhibition and display by my son! He loves to scribble short stories or events or pen down his mind on paper, but usually likes to keep his writings for his own, a typical adolescent, whose feelings I usually respect and abide by his rules. But I love these secret ambushes on his writings and essays and other literary works he has been doing throughout the year in his leisure time! I take an opportunity sometimes to sneak peek so that I can see the fruitfulness of the good habit of reading I inculcated in him at a very tender age. I feel proud going through his notebooks and papers, and the praises and commendations by experts and teachers. This year I discovered a science fiction novella with an interesting plot about immigration to mars, an article about how he transformed his mothers (mine!) mind which helped her(that is me) cope with her various animal phobias, the cyber grooming and taming of my mother (that is me), understanding the weirdness of this planet etc. Of recent I have seen him design weapons and guns using old matchsticks and while making those he writes various notes about weaponry and middle age weapons, modern age weapons artillery etc. No doubt I found a huge pile of new addition of books related to ww1 and ww2, nuclear physics weaponry in his library!
I love the smell of books it’s like good quality vanilla absolute subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in me and calms me! Experiencing the emotional high that occurs when reading a book that beautifully describes their exact predicament is a feeling no kindle app, digital book, e-book or audio book can give you. The pleasure holding a book in hand and reading it, getting lost in it and drifting away from the real world around you is the best! Books are pacifying, healing, and are a therapy in them!
This has been my recent experience that heredity is what sets the parents of a teenager wondering about each other; in my case it seems to be, like mother like son! He has grown into a voracious reader, and in addition to being a passionate reader of all type of literature he has developed magnificent and eloquent skills of writing and articulation. His ornate language and epigrammatic style impresses me. I think adolescence is a new birth, for the higher and more completely human traits are now born. Harboring and developing the habit of reading is one of the greatest gift and pleasure I could give him. These mobile motile friends have flourished his life and harnessed his mind, cultivated values, ethics and morals in his soul, and fabricated his thought process in a positive way, given him solace in times of distress, have been a guiding light for him.
I fondly remember the beautiful transition from picture books to novels. Those innocent and impatient waiting’s for the subscribed magazines and novels. I have seen him transform through all these years metamorphosed from childhood to adolescence, and so has his little library.
As I was exploring through the alluring, irresistibly, beguiling athenaeum, I noticed that the pattern of his literary collection also has an ascending design to it. The small collection of about 600-700 books tidily arrayed in a specific order according to different category and genre, starting from children’s books to fiction novels and social novels, picaresque novels, fictional biography, horrors, thrillers, mystery, sci-fi, historical, military history, books about weaponry and war, sports, humorous, futuristic fiction and nonfiction, books.
Hunting for the ultimate book in book stores, the book of the books in his ever-growing library has been a pleasure. This unique collection of books is not just a rational and organized thought, a sign with a form and a referent, it is a symbol. It is the reminiscence; echo a souvenir of the process of learning through sharing ideas. I think we always tended to search for contemporary realism, sometime magical realism. It’s our hope that one idealistic and visionary world will come into existence through words written and read or heard. Cuddling with so many compositions around you is like diving in an ocean of millenary endless, countless, manifold tsunamis of reason and imagination. That too with umpteen, multifarious, and eclectic multitude or assemblage of books that suits one’s wits and pleasantry. A book I feel is an opus or oeuvres designed with vast combinations of inter and intratexts activated in a different way every time a reader journeys through the words and establishes fresh connections in each new re-reading. Books can fully perform their function to protect, promulgate, and propagate the products of reasoning and imagination if the reader is a free being. Reading is an act of individual and ultimate freedom. When the reader goes through a book looking for knowledge aesthetic pleasure pain or mere information he is free to decide what to do with the words he is scrutinizing he can incorporate them in his own thinking he can chose to ignore part or the whole information. Reading is an act of absolute indisputably creative freedom that when shared thrusts forward humanity on the route of knowledge. It is an act basic to the development of a theory of aesthetic response, setting in motion a chain of events that depends both on the text and exercise of certain human faculties.
I always wanted my son to be a good reader and I am happy that he is! I am fortunate and god blessed that I could provide him with a small collection of his beloved books and a small library of his own, a bibliotheca which is a static universe where everything exists in its wholeness for eternity and the only finite element is the reader. It is the most cherished, prized, most expensive, esteemed treasure one can have. A bank of knowledge gathered and nurtured through centuries that mediate from the beginning of writing to the present. The space occupied by the books seems like an ultimate utopia. It’s like a universe in expansion because it shields, secures, and disseminates the mental cerebral, cognitive, conceptual, theoretical, analytical, logical achievements, procurements, and fulfillments of the human race whose evolution is still an ongoing process. I think the literary part of our life too has to metamorphose to go along with evolution and to be able to develop in the coming time! Let the marks of evolution be imprinted in our minds and thoughts in the form of knowledge and intellectual growth.
Whenever I open this cupboard the world around me transforms into a paradise, a blissful utopia and I feel blessed that I was successful in passing the legacy of reading and collecting good books to my son!

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