By now most readers of the blog know that I am an only child with no siblings to play with and therefore as a child, most of my playthings and games involved playing outside with friends and the occasional cousins who used to visit Bangalore. Being actively engaged in competitive sport such as gully cricket, badminton on the street, soccer in the ground meant that in terms of playthings, I used to play with equipment related to these sports. And given that I used to ‘play to win’ in those days, most of these used to take quite a beating when I bowled a bad ball, missed a six and got caught on the boundary, missed an easy drop shot in badminton. My father, being the nice parent he was, ensured that a near endless supply of replacements were made easily available to me. But this situation also ensured that I really couldn’t have a ‘favorite plaything’ from any among these given my propensity to throw them around and destroy them in a fit of anger.
The next best playthings that I had as a child were my books. Ranging from Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha (both from the Uncle Pai stable) to Indrajal comics (Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon), from Tintin to Asterix, from Archies to Commando (usually WW-II stories), from Franklin W Dixon to Alistair Maclean, from Enid Blyton to Agatha Christie, the list of books I read (or actually devoured) simply goes on and on. I still remember Tinkle being the first comic I had and my dad claims to have the first issue of the book printed safely bound away and stored in an attic. I have to get around to reading it all over again one of these days when I decide to get my three yr old daughter to start off with some serious comic reading. What’s more I remember ‘Five go to Smuggler’s cove’, part of the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton to be my first novel and it still rests on my bookshelf waiting to be read by my daughter one of these days. Books, reading them and maintaining them well was something that my dad did (and still does) quite diligently and I am quite proud to admit that it is a habit that I continue as well.
Now, all this reading had to translate into a really active imagination, and all that imagination had to find its outlet somewhere. Coupled with my love for movies over the last decade or so, all those wonderful stories that I had read and all the wonderful movies that I have had the pleasure of viewing result in my occasional bursts of fictional pieces on the blog. Do hop over to the Fiction category on my blog [Link] to read some of my fiction. I know it’s been quite a while since I have written anything in this category but it remains an active passion of mine for sure.
Another important contribution that reading has had on my life is that it has helped me develop a healthy attitude towards Indian mythology and the stories in this genre. Regular readers of this blog will know that from time to time I put up stories from the great epics (Mahabharata and Ramayana) and the Puranas on the blog. And given the overwhelmingly kind response from readers, I guess I am doing a good job of retelling some of these stories from Indian mythology. Stories of Shiva is the one area that my blog lacks and the next few months are going to be devoted to filling this gap here.
Today, reading continues to be an important part of my daily schedule and apart from voraciously devouring recently published Indian fiction and publishing their Book Reviews on the site [Link], I also pull out time to read English translations of various Indian books such as the ones mentioned above and retell stories from the in an easy to understand manner.
Thus, books which were my permanent ‘playthings’ during my childhood have left an indelible impact on who I am, both as a writer and as a person.
It would really be great if you could let the readers of this blog what your favorite playthings as children were and what impact they have had on the person you have become now.
This post has been written for Project 365 : A post a day where the intention is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was “What was your favorite plaything as a child? Do you see any connection between your life now and your favorite childhood toy?”