7 Aug 2007
Boo tagged me on Indian writing. I ditto Boo on reading non-detail textbooks before the start of the academic year! I don’t remember how and when I started reading English. But I clearly remember how I started reading tamil. My parents religiously read Kumudam and Vikatan every week. I knew that these books had jokes and jokes were funny. I was just 4 years old and was not proficient in reading. So I used to pester my parents/other adults at home to read and interpret the jokes for me. At a point of time, the adults started running away the minute they saw me approaching them with a book! So I decided that it was time to take matters in my own hands. My father had a kidney surgery that summer and I was sent to stay with my father’s uncle and aunt (I call them thatha and patti) so that my mom can have one less thing to worry about. My patti’s father was staying with them. He was very old, had lost most of his eyesight, very badly in need of company and more importantly needed some one to read him the Dhinathandhi. I used to read the paper with my araai-kurai (incomplete) reading skills and he would correct me and explain the words and contents I didn’t know/understand. Voila, I was a skilled tamil reader in 20 days!
By the time I was 8 years old, I was reading Gokulam, Muthu comics and any other tamil magazines that was available at home. I remember my father getting me a bunch of Gokulam, Muthu comics, Twinkle and Ambulimama from used bookstore at the beginning of my summer holidays hoping that it would keep me out of my mom’s hair for at least a week. I would finish the books in two days and would start bugging my mother. I remember my father getting me the next set of books under the condition that I must read only a certain number of pages every day!
I am an only child. I did not grow up with cousins. I didn’t have children my age to keep me company. I grew up with my aunts (my moms sisters, who my father was putting through college) who were a good decade older than I was. I never ‘played’ as a child. I remember reading, talking, drawing and pestering the life out of my aunts to tell me new stories every waking moment. My house consisted mostly of adult things and activities. I read mostly grownup magazines (adult magazine sounds shady!), the newspaper, especially the cinema section and stories. When I was well over 15 years old, I read the usual Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew stories. When I was reading Enid Bltyon, I had already read Rajeshkumar thrillers and Sujatha’s sci-fi-s! In a way I was regressing in the maturity of content of my reading material, but I didn’t care, because of two reasons. The primary one being, my love for reading, the second one was that I didn’t quite get the adult part of the stories. My limitations are that I cannot read non-fiction books. I haven’t crossed 10 pages – uh-uh, sorry, not for me! Also I prefer light works. Humor is the top of my list. I want the author to think, describe and reason out for me. If (s)he manages to do this with a sense of humor, (s)he has my vote!
Please read Part II for my list of Indian authors.