My favorite childhood reads

7 05 2010

I came across the blogpost called “Top 10 Books of My Childhood” a few days ago and got inspired to write a similar post for my blog too.

I was not always an avid reader and I had very limited exposure to books and reading in my schooldays. Nevertheless, I strived to quench my thirst for non-academic reading as much as possible by soliciting popular children’s magazines like Chandamama, Balamitra, Wisdom, Champak etc. I can’t really list my Top 10, obviously because I haven’t read much back then. But I’ll try to present a few of my memorable reads here:

Ukrainian Folk Tales: Read this while I was 10 or 11. Just fell in love with the stories. All those treasures and riches coupled with magic and animals extremely fascinated me. Alas, I don’t remember much of those stories now. I just ordered a copy from Amazon (I never owned a copy of it) and am very much looking forward to re-read them (and hopefully read them to my son too).

The Secret of Killimooin: Believe it or not, this is the only Enid Blyton’s book I’ve ever read. Found this in my grandfather’s bookshelf. It was a novel experience for me. I’ve never heard of the author or her books before at that time. I found it very enthralling and absorbing. I still remember some snippets of the adventure story and marvel at them. 

Moby Dick: I read an abridged version of this classic (not an illustrated children’s version though) and loved it. Sadly, I lost the copy and have been trying to procure a new one ever since. The unfortunate thing is that I don’t remember any details about the book that would help me identify it like publisher, author, ISBN etc. What’s more, I don’t even remember the book cover simply because I never saw it 🙂 (The book cover was wrapped in a brown paper). All I can recollect is that it had an elaborate introduction on Whale hunting. Can anyone out there help me find it? Please…!! I know I can find the original unabridged version anywhere and everywhere but I am kind of attached to that little book I read so many years ago and am very resolute to add it to my bookshelf (not virtual). And this time, I’ll not lose it. Other little things I do remember are a) it has a few illustrated pictures in balck and white b) it is around 200 pages.

Children’s Knowledge Bank (Set of 6 books): Though this is not my favorite, I spent a lot of time on these books and even actually enjoyed them. I guess this is one category of books my parents had no problem with me pouring over. These books tell you the why, how, what, where, who etc of things. Ex: What causes bald head? 🙂 Strangely, that’s the only topic I remember after all these years. Lol!

The remaining books are of my mother tongue, Telugu.
– Balala Ramayanam (Childrens’ Ramayana): This is perhaps the book, which I read the maximum number of times. Over the years I read it atleast a hundred times (literally!). I guess, I still have the copy, though the first 20 and the last 30 pages are missing. 🙂 The book has some pictures in it, which greatly enhance the narration. Of the Seven Kandas, I like the first one – BalaKandam – the most. To let a little secret out, Lord Rama was my childhood hero. 😛 Ramayana is one book which is closest to my heart (always!).

 – Panchatantra: (Visalandhra Publications – Comes in a set of 3 or 4 books.) I absolutely love them. I mostly read only Mitralabha and Mitrabedha parts. The others were read less often. I’ve always been captivated by fairy tales and tales of animals and I still carry that feeling even in my late twenties. Panchatantra stories are classic and I guess every kid in India grows up hearing at least some of them.

Baarister Paarvateesam: This is a classic literary humorous piece from Mokkapaati Narasimha Sastry, which describes the adventures of an Indian village guy as he emabarks on a journey to London, where he wishes to study law. The novel is divided into three parts of which only part 1 is hilarious. In the latter two parts, the guy – Parvateesam – having gained more experience and become more mature, tends to be less funny. It is only the most interesting Part 1 I read in my childhood (I read the other two only recently). It is something which I can read again and again and enjoy it with the same intensity every time.

I also read lots of other stories like Tenali Ramakrishna, Akbar-Birbal, Mulla Nasruddin etc. I cherished all of them.

Well, these are all I could remember now.

PS: I mentioned a magazine called – “Wisdom” in the beginning of this entry. I would like to say a few words about it here:
As the name implies, it had many pieces of wisdom about various things – happenings, animals, nature, science etc. It comes in both Telugu and English. I couldn’t find a reliable link to the magazine online but it still seems to be in publication. It has been a really long time since I’ve last seen it, let alone read it. I’ll make it a point to get one when I next visit India. I’m curious to see how the magazine might have transformed after all these years.



2 responses

8 05 2010

I love wisdom too Sireesha.. it is one of the books I make a point to buy whenever I go out.. CSR and Wisdom are 2 books that Inever missed… it is still the same but just the cover pages have changed a bit…

I havent seen one in a while though.. it was almost 2 yrs. ago, I laid my hands on one.

15 05 2010

Wow, is it? Good to know!

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