Wednesday, May 17, 2006

all the pretty little ponies

By the time it came to the edge of the Forest the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, "There is no hurry. We shall get there some day."

These unforgettable lines suddenly sparked a delightful memory in my mind. I knew I had read this somewhere, a long time ago, in my youthful years....

I remember our elementary school's old Library, I found a book with stories of Winnie the Pooh- the old, black and white, sketchy Pooh before he became too Disney-ized. I loved him since then. Suddenly the memory of the humid second-floor library, the smell of old books, the stifled silence typically imposed on 9 and 10 year old students visiting the Library, all came to back to me. I don't even remember the title of the book, but I chose it and held on to it, borrowed it a number of times until I finished all the stories.

Back then, it had no significant meaning to my 9-year old mind. What I found were endearing qualities of Pooh- his forgetfulness, his light-hearted attitude and his friendship with Christopher Robin. The words of Pooh rhymed, and it was beautiful. Its beauty, I never fully understood until now.

There were two books I read as a young girl which etched strong impressions on my mind. One is the Pooh book, and the other one is called Arrivals and Departures. Arrivals and Departures was a collection of short stories. I don't remember much about the stories anymore, but I remember best that I liked it very much. The only thing I remember is the story about a young girl with a blue nose and how she got it. The girl has plenty of freckles, and somebody asked her how many freckles she got on her nose. She tried to count, however, she keeps on losing track, which prompted her to dab her freckles with blue ink in order not to count the freckles over and over. Such puerile musings! So characteriscally dissimilar to the present generation's tales on demons and wizardry.

I read a lot. But I can't say there's a particular genre of reading that I belong to, I'm not into reading philosophy only, or biographies only or history only. I read everything. I read short stories, sometimes I read novels. I read a number of biographies. I read children's stories. I read magazine and newspaper features a lot. I had read all the articles in my 10-years worth collection of old issues National Geographic magazines. There are some books I read which I never finish. There are books I wished I had the energy to read (Tale of Two Cities and Romeo and Juliet). There are books I had read rather late (I never read The Little Prince until I was in first year college).

And then, there are books which inflamed my youthful heart, then buried into obliviousness and found its way back into my consciousness right now. Just like in the case of the passage above.

Growing up is a long, steady process. One does not sleep at night a child and wakes up the next morning aged and wiser. Just like reading, it is a step by step process. One does not read The Road Less Traveled at 10 years old and emerge with wisdom after that. When I was 13, I was in a hurry to grow up. I was impatient and resented that I was young and could not do things I thought I could do. I kept asking my mother why, and she told me- "you know when you're older. Don't hurry".

There is exactly a right time for everything. And there is a right time to read something. One must read Love in the Time of Cholera at the right time of your life. When one is young, he shall read all about the pretty little ponies, and one day, when he's older and calmer, those memories will bring a different spectacle in his life. And discover that in life, one should never lose wonder....

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