Every alternate Sunday morning, like a good convent-educated girl, I make my way to worship. In the crowded, dusty environs of Eloor library. Which holds, in the most no-nonsense style, the best books to be had in the city. There, I spend a good part of the morning hours browsing, reading, searching, giggling at a funny line, raising my eyebrows at the audacity of someone who can’t write at all, tip-toeing to the top shelf to get a look at the books hidden up there, sneezing at the cobwebs.
All, in all, it’s a fabulous wouldn’t-give-it-up-for-the-world morning. I come away feeling refreshed (though a lot grimier).
Once in a while, S and I take the boys, in an attempt to introduce them early to this wonderful world of make-believe that makes the world of non-make-believe a lot more livable. Each time, we do this, we promise never to repeat it again.
S goes down one aisle to his section of books heavy enough to start weight-lifting with, with pages full of words no one but the author (and apparently S) had heard of. He then turns to his other interest – absolute mind-smashing Wild West comic books. Similarly, I window-shop through all the erudite master-pieces, cluck at the wisdom and the beauty of those Pulitzer prize winners, and then settle for some nail-biting thriller I can read before falling asleep.
Neel reads (has just learn to read) in loud stage whispers : “P-A-N-T-H-E-R TALES.”
Nik : Whasthat mean, Neel?
Neel (who admits to not knowing nothing) : It’s about why you can’t wear pants if you have tail.s
A couple of giggles around the library. A loud sssssssssshhhhhhhh.
Chastised, Neel goes on to read another book, loudly and all wrong.
Niks soon bored, goes to his favourite task here. He rearranges all the reading stools. He stocks them up on each other, then tries to climb up the whole unholy pile, and before he crashes to the floor, someone kind thankfully catches him. Then he starts all over again.
S often thinks of charging Nik’s audience for the entertainment he never fails to provide.
Neel, meanwhile, has moved to another section of the library, it seems from his loud rendering of “L-A-D-Y C-H-A-TTTTTT-something – L-O-V-E-R”.
Sorely tempted to disown both, and leave them behind in the library, S and I, nevertheless, act the part of responsible parents, and quickly hustle them away. We pay for our books, and rush out red-faced, promising yet again, never to bring them here again.
We are half-way home when we find that Niks has become the world’s littlest shop-lifter, and certainly the first in our family. He clutches on, innocently, to the Little book of Classic Quotes.
With a sigh, we turn back.