Skip to main content

The world of books

I always consider myself very fortunate to have inculcated the habit of reading from early childhood. Credit goes to my parents, who always bought me a book or two whenever I wanted one as well as my school which had a well stocked library of Enid Blyton, PG Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, Perry Mason, Nancy Drew, RK Narayan and so on. My school teachers Ms. Glory James, Ms. Laiq Unissa and many others encouraged us to read several good books that helped us to improve our English and also chisel our character through the schooling days. Those were days when there was no television, Internet, e-books or PDF! No Ipods, Walkmans etc. My children find it amusing how one could have survived without television and Internet!

Books open up different worlds and makes us be part of those very stories that we read. Can anyone deny the feel of playing along with Swami and living in the town of Malgudi when you read Swami and friends? Or traveling through the time machine while reading HG Wells? Or almost playing Watson while reading the crime thrillers of Arthur Conan Doyle? I always found it amusing that I never thought myself to be Sherlock Holmes. Maybe my IQ levels weren't quite that high!

At school and in the neighbourhood, we discussed many of these books and we exchanged many inculcating habits of friendship, sharing along with healthy debates and discussions.

These days I find that children have multiple other distractions. The age of television, Internet, YouTube and the likes have a great impact on the habits of children and in my view have a strong influence on the character of these children.

Children, especially, right from the age of 3 onwards, need to be introduced to books of their age, beginning from the Ladybirds, Enid Blytons and so on to open up a world of imagination, visualization, creativity and sensitivity for them to experience different facets of human nature. This, I sincerely believe, helps them to deal with different kinds of people that they face in real life.

The so called technology disruption has brought out many avenues for us to read good books, e-books, Kindle or just plain websites relating some nice posts. Internet definitely has helped several people express their creativity and express their views to a world of strangers, who otherwise might have never come across these writings. Just like this blog!

But I still think that picking up a nice paperback and settling down for an experience through the pages of the imaginative writing of the author is the best that a child can get.

Please encourage your children to pick up among several good books that one can buy. In fact, take them to the book shops as often as possible. There are several authors I would recommend for children in the age group of 5-15, which I believe are the most evolving period for children. Sudha Murty, whose simple language and focus on human sensitivities, opens us to build that very character within us.

RK Narayan - Malgudi Days, Swami & Friends
Enid Blyton - all of her books
Roald Dahl - Charlie & the Chocolate factory, Matilda, The Witches, Roald Dahl's ghost stories, Tales of the unexpected, More tales of the unexpected
HG Wells - The time machine, The war of the worlds, The invisible man and many others
PG Wodehouse - The inimitable Jeeves, My man Jeeves, Carry on Jeeves, Thank You Jeeves  and many more
Agatha Christie - Murder on the orient express, The mysterious affair at styles, Death on the nile, Five little pigs, A murder is announced and several others
Arthur Conan Doyle - The hound of baskervilles, The adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the adventure of the specked band, A study in scarlet, The memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and several others
Satyajit Ray - The house of death and other Feluda stories, Indigo, The mystery of elephant god, The exploits of Professor Shonku, The adventures of Feluda, The emperor's ring etc.
Sudha Murty - The bird with golden wings - stories of wit & magic, Wise & Otherwise, Mahashweta, Dollar Bahu, How I taught my grandmother to read & other stories, The day I stopped drinking milk etc. 

And several other excellent authors for children to build a lifelong love for books.

I am sure that as they open their books every time, they will open a stage play of different people, feelings, emotions, characters and make them better prepared to face this beautiful but sometimes testing world. And I promise they will come out winners!

There are several more that one can read as one grows. Some are personal development and some spiritual oriented which also shape one's mental orientation towards life in general.

Few recommendations are as follows:
Autobiography of a Yogi - by Paramahamsa Yogananda
Divine Romance - by Paramahamsa Yogananda
Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master - by Sri M
The Fakir - by Ruzbeh Bharucha
The Fakir Part II and III - by Ruzbeh Bharucha
Living with the Himalayan Masters - by Swami Rama

I found a good website that provides reviews and recommendations for several books - check it out!

Hey, please feel free to comment or add more!

Popular posts from this blog

The true Aghori!

Dr. Robert Svoboda is an authority on Ayurveda (incidentally the first westerner to obtain a degree on Ayurveda from the Pune University) and author of the famous Aghora trilogy.

I have read a few of Dr. Robert Svoboda's books - the Aghora trilogy, the Greatness of Saturn etc. All of them are wonderful and gives a glimpse of the man that Dr. Svoboda is and of course his Master Swami Vimalananda. I had the fortune of meeting him at Kashi (Varanasi) when he guided us to Trailinga Swami's home, Lahiri Mahasaya's home and Swami Kina Ram's temple. It was surprising to see his excellent command of the local language when he asked for some specifics at Kashi and of course knows the city of Varanasi like the back of his palm. Dr. Svoboda likes Kuki Hojicha, his favorite tea (the aroma was heavenly), I am yet to get a taste of that - hopefully very soon.

The reason for this post is different though. I am sure most of us have a very different picture when it comes to descriptions …

Soul Stirring Harikathas!

Harikatha is a beautiful art form combining story telling, music and philosophy. In earlier days this was very prevalent and practiced widely to promote devotion towards the Lord but alas! it is a dying art. I was introduced to Harikatha when I got an opportunity to listen to Sri Krishnapremi (Sri Anna) at the Krishna temple in Malleswaram, Bangalore. Intoxicated by this format, later I got an opportunity to listen to Smt. Vishaka Hari at the Ramar Koil at Ramnagar, Coimbatore. She combines her excellent command over Carnatic music with the 'bhaava' & 'bhakti' required to tell stories about Krishna, Purandaradasar, Rama etc. Her unique way of Harikatha brings people to tears and down to their knees to bow down before the Almighty. Listed below are some "must listen" harikathas by Vishaka Hari. Purandaradasa Charithram - Rama Nama Vaibhavam - Sabari Motcham - https://www.yo…

True Compassion

A few days ago, I received this painting from a friend. The painting is by the well known cartoonist Keshav, who works for the newspaper, The Hindu. It really opened my eyes as to what true compassion is.
The painting, as you can see is from the story of Gajendra Moksham, wherein a crocodile grabs the leg of an elephant when it comes to drink water at the river. The elephant, Gajendra, in divine fervor, calls out to the Almighty and Lord Vishnu rushes to his rescue. This is the version we have heard and typically we will sympathize with the elephant and either ignore or deride the crocodile.

But the painting, as you can see, shows that the Lord, ever compassionate (Avyaja Karunasindhu) is equally sympathetic with both the elephant and the crocodile. The crocodile, has repented its mistake and surrenders at the feet of the Lord and He embraces him too. A very profound perspective to how compassion should be practiced.
While one may dismiss this as a story of imagination from the Puran…