It was one of those lazy afternoons when I surfed channels mindlessly till my attention was arrested by the long golden tresses of Rapunzel, my childhood heroine.
Reel after reel of the animated film kept me entertained and occupied. I marveled at the technical expertise which blended the art form and brought alive an ancient tale with finesse.
The tale seemed to be blended with a whole lot of appendage that seemed unfamiliar. I know that it is always unfair to compare the written word with any other form of art; nevertheless I committed the sin, mentally. For, my Ladybird version of the picture story has remained etched in my mind. I must have read it at least a hundred times. Every line, every word and every colourful picture flooded my memory.
I was transported back in time, when the drawing rooms in India were not yet invaded by the formidable television. We did have a decent collection of books and comics at home. My brother and I knew them by heart. So our thirst for reading was supplemented by the City Central Library at Malleswaram. We became official members of this haven which was well stocked with every book that a child could possibly read.
The cool building, actually an old home with a separate section for children on the first floor proved to be heaven on earth for us.
We used to spend a lot of time browsing over the collection and then select two books carefully, so that we could read them at leisure at home.
Our first tryst with library books began with Brer Rabbit tales and Amelia Jane series. Then we graduated to the ladybird series which introduced us to the fascinating world of fairy tales. There were many times when the selected books would be read partially on the premises before getting them issued.
Besides we would also renew some of these books, and spend hours and hours on them, gazing at the pictures while the text was being committed to our memory rather inadvertently.
The library catered to all our reading needs as the years rolled by. Times have changed, so has venue and charm of our beloved library. It no longer holds a spell over people like in the days of yore. Yet it stands there with quiet dignity amidst a buzzing market place, ready to enrich the lives of those who care to enter its portals!