As the yellowing paper parted with its twin, I buried my face within the book. Then came rushing an avalanche of memories – the old library in Adyar that my Sister and Dad visited so often and I tagging along by their side , the old librarian in his crisp white Dhoti, the memories of the first time I read Lord of the Flies which ushered me into writing my first blog post. Ah the smell of old books. Here’s the story of a treasure that I got for just twenty rupees..
It was a couple of months back. I was searching for an old bookstore to buy my friend a book and I did find a dingy little shop in my neighborhood. I rummaged through the entire shop to find a suitable book. After some restless minutes, I found my treasure buried in the cobwebby corners of the store amidst a heap of “spineless” books. It was my favourite novel “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. I thought I’d be happy to have found a book atlast but I wasn’t. There was a mental conflict going on whether to buy the book for myself or my friend. So I opened the book and I found this. Apparently it belonged to Ms Sullivan, a teacher in some school in New York City
Bam! I knew this book has to be mine. I think I need to do some explaining here. I’m the kind of person who has a weird fascination for things like old books, messages in a bottle, titanic , aliens and blah blah blah. The moment I saw the writings in the book, it rekindled my interest in the subject. In a way, it is like intercepting someone’s message in a bottle isn’t it ? In my opinion you gift books to only those people whom you really hold dear to your heart. That left me in a train of thoughts.. What was this teacher like? Was she like Robin William’s character in Dead Poets Society? The note was dated June 1, 2006. Now the boy would have left School and College. He is probably working now. Did he really grow up to be an admirable man like Ralph? These things intrigue my overtly curious mind. Above all, the thing that’s been irking me is the reason why this book ended up in the dingiest corner of an old book shop. Had I been gifted with a book from a teacher, I would preserve it for the rest of my life. Was it by accident that this book ended up in this state? I may never know. Yet the one thing I knew for sure is that the book was mine. As I left the shop, my purse was short of 20 rupees but my bag held a treasure that I consider priceless.
E-readers may provide innumerable facilities compared to a normal tattered old book but it is nothing compared to the satisfaction of holding a book filled with ink-and-paper, taking you back to memories that stay in your mind for eternity.
So have you ever had any message-in-a-bottle experiences like this ? Any writings in the old books you have bought? Are you also a paper-book purist like me ?
(P.S: I’m sorry for having been in hibernation for so long. I missed my fellow bloggers and awesome readers. 🙂 )