Winds of Change...
Blowing around me...
Makes me feel archaic
Renders me outdated
These were the few lines iterating my mind at a city book store one evening.....“This was the first novel I’ve read”, quipped a young lady, seemed like a decade old girl, standing next to me. I just turned around and saw ‘5 point someone’ in her credulous hands. It zapped me for a moment...!!
I remember when I started reading...it was in the company of the Hardy siblings...Huckleberry Finn...Sherlock Holmes...! I was-and-still-am absolutely floored by these classics. I could even read it today with the same glint in my eyes. Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson’s and Mark Twain’s of the world were the one I grew up with. My first source of books was my school library which had a collection of all cases of Hardy Boys...Three Investigators and the World Famous series. I am highly indebted to my grand-dad who inculcated this habit in me. He used to get such books from his friends and would narrate them until I dozed off.
The very essence of these classics were that it clearly sends across a message of morality...goodness...evilness and many more learning’s by demarcating them with each other. These books are the best tutors one can have especially at such a tender age. I remember being sympathetic to Oliver Twist when he was refused another loaf of bread....being a part of Lemuel Gulliver in his efforts to befriend the Lilliputians as also in the company of Phileas Fogg in his trip around the world in a quite cramped up schedule of eighty days (hehehe). They are still fresh in my memories.
I believe these books are termed classics for a reason...! But they seem to be losing its sheen.
Coming back to the 10 year old girl with a Chetan Bhagat book in her hand....can you imagine such young and naive minds inculcating book reading with a novel where students screw up their first class quiz...casually use profane language and one of the protagonist has sex with the professors daughter...I know all of this is mentioned in the lighter sense (I personally loved the book...and am a great Bhagat fan :-))... but what is more important is what young readers take out from this...! There a host of such books available in the market off late ready to gobble up young readers. Are Chetan Bhagat’s books or many such IIM/IIT-studs-turned-storytellers’ books modern day classics? (I must admit here I have no personal grudge against the writer). We read such books as a light hearted humour....will a first time reader be able to make the same sense of such books?.....is a million dollar question...!
Are these the new classics? Or am I acting like an orthodox who wants readers the same books as I did? Has the new generation left me gasping for breath in an attempt to catch up..? Is my vintage thinking a victim of the Dinosaur syndrome....one which refuses to adapt???
Sure had a lot of unanswered questions as I made my way out of that store...and yes I really mean the four lines mentioned at the start...!