Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Bookworm's Plea

I believe it is a sin to put a good book down. Try as I might, once I am hooked, I cannot. I do not remember when it was exactly that I got into the reading habit, and like they say, some habits are really hard to shake off. I remember starting out with Enid Blyton novels. For a long time, I thought the author was Gnid Blyton, because the font looked like a G! For a longer time, I thought Enid Blyton was a man. I had pretty soon exhausted all the Famous Five and Secret Seven series in the school library and I moved to the St.Claire's and Malory Towers series. I do not know how many will agree with me, but these simple tales of hostel life is the best series I have ever read. It created a huge longing in me to live in a hostel. In fact, these books made me feel like I was in one of the schools, an on-looker at times, a character at times - judging the situations, enacting the characters in my mind and enjoying the read thoroughly. I remember that in Class 7, me and a lot of my friends were hooked onto these series, and our class teacher Aruna Maruthi once saw the book with one of us. While we were studying in the free periods, she took our book and read it and came back to us and said that one can never outgrow books such as these!

And slowly, my reading habits took a mature shift when I started reading Dickens, Jane Austen and the like. I remember being thrilled out of my wits when I read A Journey To The Center Of The Earth. I remember vividly imagining The Secret Garden, probably the most I have imagined for any book. I remember being so happy that Fogg did actually go Around The World In 80 Days.

And further, I started reading the usual Sidney Sheldon, Arthur Hailey, John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, Wilbur Smith novels and so many more of the like. I also got hooked to Harry Potter, after being dragged to the movie with my cousins. I remember that in 2nd PU, I would wait to get back home from college and tuitions to just stay up all night and finish the new Harry Potter novel. I remember how I read Harry Potter after my first year Engg exams, but before the Mechanical Lab exam, and how I nearly flunked it because I could not get myself to read any theory for the viva, being hooked to Harry Potter. I also remember yelling at so many of my friends who told me who dies in the new book.

I have had many many sleepless nights, reading a novel which was un-put-down-able! I have many times nodded absently to what my Mom was saying, being engrossed in my novels. I have many a times sat in Sankey, enjoying a silent read with the perfect ambiance. I used to finish books so fast and return them to the library that Librarian uncle (a fellow bookworm) used to be so happy that he would only charge half the rate for the book :) Nothing ever transforms me to another world as easily as a good book.

I am sure a lot of you are similar bookworms, with similar experiences and reading has been an integral part of your growing up. What saddens me the most is that this generation kids are more and more attracted to video games and the reading habit, evidently, has been going down. While the graphics of the video games are extremely cool and everything, it still cannot replace the power of a book - a book that can make you think, imagine and grow. With this trend, naturally, book-sellers are having a hard time running their businesses. I know I speak for a lot of you when I say I love the smell of a book, old or new, and entering a bookstore is like paradise for me. Although I have never bought books at this particular bookstore, I do know the sentiments when I make this plea. On the request of my friend Sharath, who got into the habit of reading only thanks to this bookstore, I make this plea to everyone to go buy books from Bookworm - a store in Shringar Complex, MG Road, Bangalore which is also facing the effects of the dwindle of bookworms. After all, only one bookworm can help another!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Did Video really kill the Radio Star?

Every time I hear the song "Video killed the radio star", I wonder how much it applies today or at least in the last decade, when radio has been largely popularized by FM channels. It is actually surreal to think that it was about 7-8 years ago when FM started off in India. Radio City, the then only channel in Bangalore, was one of the main reasons I would even get up in the morning. My mom would come and switch on the radio in my room, and being pleasantly surprised by one of my favourite songs playing on the radio, I would wake up with a smile on my face. This would really set the mood for the entire day. In fact, it is this surprise element which I like most about radios. You have absolutely no idea what song will play next, and more than one of these songs are definitely bound to cheer you up. This small thrill is definitely not experienced when you play a song off your playlist :)

I have been a radio listener all my life and I have to thank my mom completely for this. I know as many kannada songs as I do, only thanks to the radio playing in our room all morning when we were kids. I have grown up listening to so many kannada songs and bhavageethes, which led way to English and Hindi music when FM started. I remember completing all my record work listening to Jonzee during sleepy afternoons. I remember work math problems, one after another, during my 2nd PU, listening to the music Barker played all night long. My fondest memories of radio are definitely from 2nd PU, when my parents cut the cable connection and I would listen to the radio day in and day out while studying. I remember phases that radio stations went through, first playing English and Hindi. Then playing only Hindi, and then only Kannada. And through that last phase, where they played only kannada songs, radio was my only source of getting to know new music. Working full days, coming back and apping left me no time to watch Tv and the radio shows I heard on my way to work and back were serving to complete the music quotient for my day. After all, music is the magic that moves my world :) :)

Thanks Sindhu for the Radio City link, that brought back a lot of memories and totally made my day :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Silent Spectator

We go on with our lives, in a frenzy; talking, sharing, blogging, scrapping - live and on the web. We share thoughts, photos, videos and information of all kinds. When we do this, how many of us actually give privacy a thought? And here, I do not only mean privacy settings blocking people unknown to us to pry on us. I also include the hundreds of acquaintances who are on our friend lists who have access to all our information. Enough has been spoken about these kinda issues. Strikingly, what I also include in this list, after deep thought, are some of our own friends. When I include friends here, I do not mean to say we share information in a threatening manner. In a group of friends, more often than not, there are smaller subsets of people who are closer amongst themselves. Or also, the group might consist of a lot of people and we initially connect considerably with only a few. It would take time before we get close to everyone in the group. But while hanging out as a group, we still share to the whole group. We might not be particularly close to a person. But that person hears your thoughts, listens to your jokes, peeks into your dreams and all this while you do not even credit this silent spectator. This silent spectator is slowly getting to know a lot about you, and you are not even aware of it. As I think about this, it is just a little freaky that you have exposed yourself to a lot of people, knowingly or unknowingly. It is also probably a little sad that you do not know or have not cared/ bothered to know more about this person who seems to know so much about you. At the end of the day, you might think that you are an enigma, but chances are that there are many silent spectators who know a lot about you, even when you might think no one else really knows you and no one really cares!