I wish I could say that I still vividly remember the day my father introduced me to books. He wanted to inculcate a habit of reading in us and I cannot thank him enough for that, but no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to recall that one book. However, there is another book from my childhood that I will never forget.
Enid Blyton’s Amelia Jane.
Let’s be honest, I do not remember the book per se, but, I remember how it made me feel. I remember how naively I had believed every word written, how for that few minutes the world was a place where magic existed.
Amelia Jane was a collection of stories about this naughty doll and her adventures. There was one story in which Amelia gets locked in the toy cupboard and misses a party the other toys throw. I remember feeling amazed at this because the information that toys come out to play when we go to sleep was new to me. From that day onwards, I made sure to leave my drawer open every night so that my toys didn’t find it difficult to get out and play. After all, I didn’t want my toys to miss out on a possible adventure.
While growing up, I came across many such worlds where trees would talk and elves would make children’s wishes come true. Realms where humans could talk to animals and adventures were to be found in one’s backyard. From kids fantasy to crime thrillers to a world full of wizards and witches – I read whatever was available. But the minute I stepped into the adult world, books soon became those friends one visits only during the vacations. Time flew by and the multiple books on the bedside table were replaced by chargers and work notepads.
It was only recently, when I was visiting home, that I felt this familiar feeling of wonder. The task at hand was to sort out the mess and fill a box of items for donation. It was time to let go of the past and start afresh.
While cleaning out my desk I found an old children’s book – Enid Blyton’s Amelia Jane. It was in hardcover with a faded front page and dog eared pages. Digging a little deeper, I found more gems in this long-forgotten treasure chest. Each book bore the markings of age. Many of them were read and re-read multiple times and every book had the front page signed with my name.
With a smile plastered on my face, I packed a small box of these memories and wrote “Books to be Donated” on top. These were portals to wonderland, which once made me believe in endless possibilities. I wanted others to experience the same sense of wonder. However, there was one book that I kept for myself. For the adult me too needed a physical reminder that somewhere in this world, magic still exists. All I need to do is believe.