Monday, November 1, 2021

Memories - Renewed and our Indian Jack-O'-Lantern!


I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that books also serve as memory boxes for some of us. Some books are held closer to your heart than others, either because of their literary value or because of your memories associated with them - some books may evoke memories of your own childhood, or the early childhood of your son or daughter, or reminiscent of your state or mind or your situation at the time of reading the book and pulling it out from the bookshelf affords you a chance to look back and reflect on those times. For instance, I happen to read Harper Lee’s “Go set a Watchman” soon after the birth of my daughter in the year 2015 and while the book was indeed a disappointment, a mere glance of the book’s cover takes me back to my own frame of mind and insecurities that I had harboured about whether I will ever be able to get back to work with the responsibility of two kids!   Some books are a throwback to the happy memories of the past that makes it harder to let go …. and its not unusual to be on the lookout for someone you believe is worthy of your memory box..isnt it? 😊

We were delighted to be the beneficiaries of what must have been a treasure trove of memories from my mother’s cousin who was looking to hand over a wonderful collection of books that they had enjoyed with their kids back in the eighties. So joining our already overflowing collection of books, meet the newest member of Aadya’s books shelf – the well known “The Childcraft series” and we are glad to have this set of 15 books as a companion for Aadya during her growing up years. Thank you Mr. Suresh Rao and Mrs. Nirmala  Rao for this marvellous collection!  

As Aadya dived into the series, one of the stories had me relive our good old  "Portland days” that now seem like another era!  In fact, thanks to Beverly Cleary, we also developed a renewed interest in the all-American Halloween! Though Halloween has been part of Abhay’s early childhood in the US and the same continued in Bangalore  thanks to events in the Hippocampus children’s library, Aadya has had almost no exposure to Halloween and she had no idea what she was in for or rather  we had no clue what it would entail for us as we turned the pages of Volume no.2 “Time to Read” of the Childcraft series to “The Night of Jack-O’-Lantern”. Part of the novel “Ramona and her father", this a wonderful story that introduces the curious and cheerful protagonist, Ramona Quimby whom Aadya fell in love with. Of course, Beverly Cleary’s characters of Ramona and her older sister Beezus have been popular with the American kids, particularly in the State of Oregon, the author’s home state, but its been a while since I came across any of Beverly Cleary’s stories and  Ramona’s naughty innocence, the rebellious attitude of her adolescent older sister amidst the usual ups and downs in a middle class American family made for a refreshing read. 

The story begins with Ramona’s earnest attempt to diffuse the grouchy atmosphere at home with her own brand of humour, much to everyone’s chagrin. Patience seems to be in short supply on the given day with everyone snapping at each other, but as Ramona helps bring up the giant pumpkin lying in their basement, the entire family excitedly comes together to carve the Halloween harvest, and soon each of them including their pet cat, add their own personal touch to make the wickedest Jack-O’-Lantern in the whole world! A beautiful feel good story revolving around relatable family situations, laced with subtle humour and stimulating illustrations makes for smooth and relaxing read…and has us begging for more from the world of Qimbys!

Needless to say, we have had a renewed interest in Halloween this year and Aadya’s fascination with Jack-O’-Lantern has us (read the daddy!) carve out our very own Indian Jack-O’-Lantern! Happy Halloween! 

                                                    Halloween Illuminations!

No comments:

Post a Comment