When the highlight of one entire day was a contest on chat with a friend on who can name the maximum characters in the Enchanted Wood series I realised that I really needed a break. Thankfully it was a Friday so I promised myself to haunt the bookstores on Saturday for some new book. And since it was Enchanted Wood that revived me on that dull Friday I thought best thing for me would be to go back to the books I loved as a kid and even now.
And after a relatively long time I went to the kids section of Crossword (Flipkart and my library membership having made trips to bookstores a rarity).
So there I am a 31 year old loafing around in the children's section looking for a book that will catch my fancy. I was hoping to pick the 3 Enchanted Wood books but to my dismay I could not find them. And what made me even more upset was there were barely any authors that I knew. Gone are the days when you would see multiple racks of good old Enid Blyton. The books are there, but limited and with brand new cover pages which just left me shocked – it was like staring at a bosom buddy who has got plastic surgery done. Where were the St. Clare's books with the beautiful O'Sullivan twins on the cover? Or the Mallory Towers with the curly haired twinkly eyed Darrel rivers on the cover?
I used to pride myself in knowing the children's section well – and had even helped and pointed out books to children and parents.
But things are changed now. I could not find the Magic Faraway Tree but instead found something called the MagicTree House books! There are dozens of teenage vampire books. Then there is a deluge of books by these new authors who are probably churning books by the minute- Rick Riorden, Eoin Colfer and many many more.
I suddenly felt lost in the land that I thought I knew so well.
And I sat on the little stool staring at all these fat colorful books wondering what happened. And wondering what the children were reading. What was “in”. What was good. All the books looked the same to me.
I watched kids picking up books with a surety that I did not feel anymore, browsing through the shelves, picking up 5th and 6th books of a set of 8 or 9 books.
And I wanted to ask them to tell me what they were reading these days.
Oh and by the way if you are still wondering about the result of the contest I had with my friend – I won.