Sunday, March 6, 2011


A souvenir of a college had impressive snaps of the outgoing batches with a line under each of them. The captions were captivating. The one that caught my attention was
" Common sense is intuition and greater common sense is genius". A fine caption for the class of youngsters which had opted for logic as an optional subject.

Captions go a long way in holding the attention of an audience. There were photo contests which were accompanied by caption contests. These contests and the impressive word play inevitably takes one back to those "Tinkle " days when we had a full fledged magazine to ourselves.  Chandamama was in existence but was more a belonging of the children and adults alike. It contained stories which were more an addendum to the famed Vikramaditya and the Betaal story. The story related by the ghost would end with the inevitable question and we could literally chime from memory " Vikram tell me the answer. If you know it and keep quiet then your head will shatter into a thousand pieces" There would be only one picture and the story would be related in a flow. As against this the comic books of Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle provided frame by frame movement of the characters. Visual treats left little for imagination. We were moved into a realm of relishing the art of relating a story which competed with the pictures for attention of the reader. The simple logic was that a child loves to read a book which has a picture as an added attraction.

These books took us to one more era wherein the tales across the world such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Snow white and the seven dwarfs, Rapunzel, etc charmed their way into our hearts. These books came under the Ladybird series which were small concise books with a picture on one side and a simple story line related on the other. The most read book by me at least would remain the Goldilocks and the Three Bears which had such cute little cots for each of the bears. These series slowly took us to the level of the Enid Blyton series which started with small story books and then led to the Famous Five, Five Findouters, Malory Towers, St Clares, etc. Thereafter, the age of mystery caught up with the Nancy Drew, Hardy boys, Alfred Hitchcock and the inimitable Agatha Christie.

It was after the above books that we finally reached the Haileys and the Archers. It is a story akin to Hansel and Gretel. The prized possession of a library card was motivated by a maternal uncle which soon led to having four of them . These cards have gone past the silver jubilee and the same are now more souvenirs since the library has liitle or no books of value to be read. It is more a newspaper room. The days of the mobile library and the holder being eligible to borrow any book from any of these libraries are matter of history. However, the cherished memories remain and the library tickets shall continue to be a top souvenir that I shall continue to hold for a long time to come.