Every morning as I leave my house for office, I see the kids from my neighborhood play in the streets and how I wish I had summer vacations too. There is no way I can be with my mother for a month or take leave from office for more than a day or have evenings that are spent in a park , enjoying the sunset with a book. But, I can relive those days a bit with the books that I read during those times. Here are some of the books I read and loved during my school vacation era –
Ramayana & Mahabharata stories (Hindi) – I did not read any of these books till I was in college ( I have not read the complete Mahabharata even now ) but my earliest childhood memory is of my grandmother reading the stories to me every evening and sometimes even indulging us before we went to bed. I wish and hope every kid is made aware of these stories for they still show us the best way to live.
Panchatantra , mythological and other moral stories ( Hindi/English) – Haridwar was a favorite holiday spot for my family for years. Reasons – cheapest and best mangoes, River Ganga , temples and Gita Press,Gorakhpur. My mother would make sure to buy all the latest story collections and mythology books from this place in Rishikesh. Rest of my vacations was spent reading all the books and later narrating to anyone willing to hear. I myself visited it last month and got some serious reading stuff for myself this time.
The Famous Five by Enid Blyton (English) – This series was my first introduction to the world outside India. Thanks to my English teacher who recognized my love for books and allowed me to borrow as many books as I wanted from the school library , I finished about 3 books from the series during the VI standard vacation and over the years , I have managed to read all of the books. Written around 70 years back, these books still have the power to engage any child’s mind and make anyone smile at the adventures of children – Julian, Dick, Anne and Georgina (George) – and their dog Timmy
The Hardy Boys by Franklin Dixon (English) – I was in VIII standard when I first read Hardy boys and I was hooked. The car chases, the different cities, the American lifestyle , reading about different jobs and settings was all super fun. I had read most of Hardy boys before I left school and the remaining I read once I discovered these books in Daryaganj book bazaar (that needs another post of its own)
Nancy Drew series (English) – Often considered as the earliest influence on many women characters to be written later, Nancy Drew books were quite popular among girls. Nancy had beauty, brains and a wealthy father and yet she was curious , smart and adventurous like hell ! A worthy inspiration I must say. Frankly, I read only a few books and though I liked them, sadly my heart was already mad about Hardy boys ( the senior one more specifically)
Goosebumps (English) – One of the earliest horror book I read . The first few books gave me nightmares bad enough to sleep with lights on and later as I got accustomed to them, I loved them. The thrill, the anticipation and the sense of something sinister lingering around was a feeling I realized I have enjoyed always.
Harry Potter (English)– I was XII standard when a junior of mine told me about the Harry Potter series and agreed to lend me the books once she was done. I read 2 of HP books while in school and I can say, that was my introduction to fantasy fiction genre-one that remains my favorite till today.
And lastly, from V to X, my English teacher made us read an abridged version of any one classic books, and thanks to her , I know the story of most of the books. Though some day, I wish to read the originals too.
The market for children’s books or even for teens has grown much in the last decade. Even the interests and tastes vary a lot for most readers these days, but still, there is some beauty and charm in the classics that every child must discover. To all those who have vacations (or their parents ) , Please spend some time reading and you will not regret it ! (Incidentally, that’s the easiest way to stay off roads during heat hours ;)) To ones like me, it’s never too late to read these books. Try them!
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