My favourite books from childhood and my bookish confessions.

Image for Blog header -My Favourite Books and Bookish confessions.

My childhood experiences with my favourite books and reading differ from many others. I read my favourite books from childhood from my father's library. Those books made me a dreamer, a daydreamer, and a writer. And I write about the book that fascinated me as a teenager, a teenage love story. This is what I can say when I look back to those days. And I write about my bookish confessions.

I grew up in a tiny village in central Kerala, India.  A library was not even an idea there, in my childhood.  During my college days, the youngsters in the area, including myself, came up with the idea of a library.  It took some time to get the formalities done- secure the buildings, library grant, and a person in charge- to materialise the idea into a reality.  The initial stock came from the donors, mainly used books.  Almost all I have read by that time.  

So, my experiences with my favourite books and reading from childhood differ from those of many others. 

My Father's Bookshelf and my childhood reading.

So, I didn't have the book experience as many others using an established library and reading books.  My library was in my home.  I just call it a library now.  But it was only a standard shelf. 

My father was a professional in the indigenous medicine, Ayurveda.  He kept a library for medical and storybooks.  He was a man of difference.  He spent his apprentice days in his field of study in a city, which might have given him a different worldview and love for books and reading.  And I became interested in the story books on his shelf from a young age.  

Those books made me a dreamer, a daydreamer, and a writer.  This is what I can say when I look back to those days.  What reinforced the dreamer in me was the rustic beauty of my village.  

It was a beautiful place blessed with nature and fertile landscapes that rose and fell in soft rhythms.  Watching the streams and brooks softly wound around the landscapes before dashing off to the distant water bodies in the lowlands was my favourite pastime.  

I wrote my first story at the age of 7.  I remember sitting in the cosy corner of our open shed in the backyard of my thatched home and composing the lines using a lead pencil in my school notebook.  It was about our guard dog.  

He was kind and caring and my play buddy.  That day, his guard went down and charged our homegrown hen.  He pounced upon her--unless a neighbour hadn't intervened in time, he would have finished her off.  Animal cruelty was my theme.   

This is the one book that fascinated me as a teenager.

Unfortunately, I cannot recollect the titles that interested me in childhood.  And they were all written in Malayalam, my mother tongue.  I forgot all their titles except the one that fascinated and charmed me in my teens.   Vischinnakankanam. It translated into Broken Bangles in English.  

A love story it was.   A teenage love.  A boy meets a girl and gets attracted to each other against all taboos that rule the social lives.  Their fascination was mutual.  He gifted her a set of glass bangles at the height of love.  

She loved them and kept them hidden without coming to the notice of anyone in her home in fear.  But their love was short-lived; it went against the social constructions.  When they parted, the keep of the bangles he had presented to her as a token of his affection was an act of intransigence.  She had no option but to break and crush them in tears, lulling her broken heart in silence. 

That story has been acting out in my mind for a long time.  Then life became a serious business of college days, learning and living in the world of another set of books of science, maths, calculations, equations and laws in the physical world.   I was still fascinated by the fiction world and read them as allowed by my time.


Then I forgot about the book- Vischinna Kankanam- my teenage fascinator.  When I searched for it in later years, it was not there.  It got lost.  How?  I couldn't figure it out.  While we shifted into our new home, a loaner still needed to return it? 

I made some online inquiries for the book for this post.  Though I kept the title in my memory, never the author.   There is no chance for me to come across it, but the story remains alive and kicking in my heart and memories.  That is the sad and the bright part of it. 

My Bookish Confessions.  

1.  I am reluctant to lend my books.  Taking lessons from the behaviour of the borrowers who never remember to return them.  

2.  I read history books with a pinch of doubt.  A biased author, a publisher and a new history is constructed for a people, nation, or place.  "History is written by winners' is a quote attributed to Winston Churchill.  It implies history is not grounded in facts, and I concur with that in many instances. 

3.  I cannot read a book when disturbed.  I know people who get over their troubles reading a book.  I am not one among them.

4.  I cannot go till the end of a book without it being suspenseful.  Many unfinished books keep on smiling at me when I approach my bookshelf.  And I feel sad about them. 

5.  The books that excite me I read over and over again.  Examples:  Americanah by Chimamanda  Ngozi, Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, and Disgrace by J. M Coetzee. 

6.  My fascination has yet to grow for books in genres like fantasy and Scientology.

7.  I like both physical and online books.  However, I restrict my choices these days to online.  I had to leave a big part of my collections with the local libraries or friends when I had to shift from one country to another. 

8.  I have yet to try an audiobook. 


Have you had an experience of your favourite book disappearing without a trace? And please share your bookish confessions.