Do you remember your first book? The very first one that was read to you or the first one that you learnt to read? Or do you have fond memories of the first book that you chose at the book shop and brought home?
I feel like I was always around books, even before I have any real memory about specific ones. I was born into a home with books of all sorts, so the first few that I got to know were the ones that my dad and his brothers and my Grandad had collected. These range from Engineering textbooks to Russian and Sanskrit dictionaries, medical journals, music books, the Vedas, Upanishads, Sherlock Holmes, Wodehouse, and Disney comics…
Many of these books are now out of print. So sadly, you don’t find books like these anymore. They are really old, and I am rather scared to touch them these days – the paper is yellowed with age and brittle. But these are the first books I owned and have claimed them as my legacy. They still occupy pride of place in my parents’ house since I don’t have room to house all my books in my little flat. Someday, I will have them around me – once I have my huge library and floor to ceiling shelves!
When I look back and really try to recall my very first book, this is the one I remember (see pic above). My dad and his brothers had put together many different comics and bound it all into one big collection. This collection includes some of my favourites like The Three Little Pigs, Cottage in the Woods, The Tinder-Box, Johnny Appleseed, Three Fairies. My Grandad used to read these stories to me when I was two or three years old. Even before I learnt the alphabet, I knew the stories by heart and could recite them from memory – matching the narration to the panel.
No one gets their hands on this baby. I don’t know how much longer this will hang on, but I might bequeath it to a loved one of the next generation who I know will appreciate it. But for now, it continues to give me pleasure every time I open its old and wise pages.
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