Monday, December 3, 2012

Books and Memories

Books have always been an important part of my life. I cannot remember not having one with me at any point in time. Of course, there was a brief period when I just couldn't find the time to read, or even if I had time, I was too tired and preferred to switch on the idiot box instead. But I am glad that I did return to books, and although I don't read as fast as I once used to, I still love to curl up on the sofa, and soak in the pages, savoring the smell of the paper, (which probably explains why I still cannot come to terms with e-books) and drowning myself in the stories unfolded in those pages.

Now that I am back home for the semester break, I spent some time looking at old books on the bookshelf, and realized why I am so attached to them. To me, each book is a memory, and looking at those books helps me revisit those memories. At home, every birthday, vacation, or special celebration has always been remembered through books. Indeed, I received my first book when I was three years old. It was a tiny Ladybird book, titled 'Story time for 3 Year Olds', and Appa had also written in a small message- For Dear Sruthimol. A number of other books followed, each one with a message from Appa or Amma, each one as precious as the very first. I came across a Laura Ingalls Wilder book (Little House on the Prairie), a gift for my eleventh birthday, with this message from Appa- Dear Sruthimol, Eleven today! (Going on fifteen?). I loved the Little House series, and I got the last one (On the Banks of Plum Creek) in celebration of me getting a school leadership position. I re read the message from Appa, and it brought back so many memories, a time when Appa would lovingly call me poochakutty,  me wearing my blue school pinafore and proudly pinning on the Assistant Literary Secretary badge, the school in Bahrain...

It's not just the books on the shelf that bring back memories. There are also prayer books in the puja room, old yellowed pages, often dog-eared and slightly torn. The old Bhajanamritam copies remind me of bhajans sung together as a family. The Lalitha Sahasranamam booklet reminds me of Friday mornings, where we would sit together and chant the 1000 names of the Goddess. Each time I use the book, I remember how Amma and I would always smile at each other, in between the chants, whenever we reached the 879th name, Sudha Sruthi. (My mother's name is Sudha, and most of my family and friends know me as Sruthi, so this name of the Goddess is a combination of both our names.) The faint fragrance of vibhuti in the folds of these pages is a reminder of God's omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience to me, and it brings me tremendous solace in trying times. 

Every book is a memory, and that makes each book special to me :)

P.S: I'm finally out of my blog-hibernation mode! Although I would like to think I have been really busy, it was sheer laziness that prevented me from blogging this past month.

Mol is a Malayalam term for daughter.
Poochakutty literally means 'little cat' in Malayalam.
Puja is a Sanskrit term for worship/prayer.
Bhajans are devotional hymns
The Lalitha Sahasranamam is a Sanskrit prayer, consisting of the 1000 names of the goddess. (Sahasra meaning 1000, and Namam meaning name)
Vibhuti refers to sacred ash, often worn on the forehead as a sign of faith.

2 comments:

  1. Yes, KS...the smell and feel of books, both old and new...mutually exclusive! I have in my jealously guarded possession a yellowed, rendered crisp by age, vibhoothi smelling copy of Vshnu Sahasranamam...the brittle pages hold not just the sahasranamam,but also the silken voice of M.S, the giggles shared among siblings as we struggled to pronounce certain words...lovely childhood memories...it is prited at " Kamala vilas Parimala thozhilsala, Thrissoor.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow,it's the same here, Vijaya ma'am. Whenever I see my old copy of Bhajanamritam, I remember the bhajans which my cousins and I used to sing out of tune, stumbling over the Sanskrit words. :D Thanks so much for reading, ma'am! :)

    ReplyDelete

Monday, December 3, 2012

Books and Memories

Books have always been an important part of my life. I cannot remember not having one with me at any point in time. Of course, there was a brief period when I just couldn't find the time to read, or even if I had time, I was too tired and preferred to switch on the idiot box instead. But I am glad that I did return to books, and although I don't read as fast as I once used to, I still love to curl up on the sofa, and soak in the pages, savoring the smell of the paper, (which probably explains why I still cannot come to terms with e-books) and drowning myself in the stories unfolded in those pages.

Now that I am back home for the semester break, I spent some time looking at old books on the bookshelf, and realized why I am so attached to them. To me, each book is a memory, and looking at those books helps me revisit those memories. At home, every birthday, vacation, or special celebration has always been remembered through books. Indeed, I received my first book when I was three years old. It was a tiny Ladybird book, titled 'Story time for 3 Year Olds', and Appa had also written in a small message- For Dear Sruthimol. A number of other books followed, each one with a message from Appa or Amma, each one as precious as the very first. I came across a Laura Ingalls Wilder book (Little House on the Prairie), a gift for my eleventh birthday, with this message from Appa- Dear Sruthimol, Eleven today! (Going on fifteen?). I loved the Little House series, and I got the last one (On the Banks of Plum Creek) in celebration of me getting a school leadership position. I re read the message from Appa, and it brought back so many memories, a time when Appa would lovingly call me poochakutty,  me wearing my blue school pinafore and proudly pinning on the Assistant Literary Secretary badge, the school in Bahrain...

It's not just the books on the shelf that bring back memories. There are also prayer books in the puja room, old yellowed pages, often dog-eared and slightly torn. The old Bhajanamritam copies remind me of bhajans sung together as a family. The Lalitha Sahasranamam booklet reminds me of Friday mornings, where we would sit together and chant the 1000 names of the Goddess. Each time I use the book, I remember how Amma and I would always smile at each other, in between the chants, whenever we reached the 879th name, Sudha Sruthi. (My mother's name is Sudha, and most of my family and friends know me as Sruthi, so this name of the Goddess is a combination of both our names.) The faint fragrance of vibhuti in the folds of these pages is a reminder of God's omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience to me, and it brings me tremendous solace in trying times. 

Every book is a memory, and that makes each book special to me :)

P.S: I'm finally out of my blog-hibernation mode! Although I would like to think I have been really busy, it was sheer laziness that prevented me from blogging this past month.

Mol is a Malayalam term for daughter.
Poochakutty literally means 'little cat' in Malayalam.
Puja is a Sanskrit term for worship/prayer.
Bhajans are devotional hymns
The Lalitha Sahasranamam is a Sanskrit prayer, consisting of the 1000 names of the goddess. (Sahasra meaning 1000, and Namam meaning name)
Vibhuti refers to sacred ash, often worn on the forehead as a sign of faith.

2 comments:

  1. Yes, KS...the smell and feel of books, both old and new...mutually exclusive! I have in my jealously guarded possession a yellowed, rendered crisp by age, vibhoothi smelling copy of Vshnu Sahasranamam...the brittle pages hold not just the sahasranamam,but also the silken voice of M.S, the giggles shared among siblings as we struggled to pronounce certain words...lovely childhood memories...it is prited at " Kamala vilas Parimala thozhilsala, Thrissoor.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow,it's the same here, Vijaya ma'am. Whenever I see my old copy of Bhajanamritam, I remember the bhajans which my cousins and I used to sing out of tune, stumbling over the Sanskrit words. :D Thanks so much for reading, ma'am! :)

    ReplyDelete