I suppose I have to thank the Radiant Reader, my English text in 3rd Standard, for instilling a love of reading in me. I was trying to trace the exact point in time that I developed a love for reading. So I went back to my childhood. I loved the language classes. As soon as I got my books for the new session in school, I would pick up my English and Hindi textbooks and flip through them, reading all the fiction given therein.
We used to subscribe to Dharmyug and Chandamama, popular Hindi magazines of the 60s. I remember my aunt complaining to my cousin that the minute I spotted a new issue of either of these magazines, I was lost to the world.
My cousins were fond of the romantic novels of Gulshan Nanda. My uncle used to frown upon them, quite rightfully thinking they were bad reading material for young girls. One afternoon my uncle caught me with my nose buried in a Gulshan Nanda novel. He snatched it from of my hand and threw it outside the house. My cousins, who used to read these on the sly, cast baleful looks at me for ‘outing’ them.
Soon afterwards, my uncle took me to a private library close to my house and enrolled me there. It was one of the best things to happen to me. I would draw books from the library and read like there was no tomorrow. I was roundly scolded by all for such a passion for reading.
I write because I love to read.
I wrote a short story about a young woman who is adopted, and sets out to find her mother. It was in Hindi, and the style was quite like Gulshan Nanda’s. It was trashed by my cousins. Later, under the influence of Enid Blyton and Daphne Du Maurier, I started writing in English. All my writing was kept hidden in a notebook.
Much later, after college was done with, I typed out an article on my father’s typewriter and sent it to The Times of India for publication in their ‘Middles’ section. It was picked up for publication, and I got a cheque of Rs.150/- for it. It was a princely sum in the early 80s.
Now. I blog.
I write because it is a compulsion.