Monday, October 22, 2007


On my sixth birthday, I received an illustrated classic version of "Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens. I still remember the details of the book. It was a small and thick Jaico publications book and had a pink cover with the picture of a young boy on it. In the days succeeding my birthday I used to wait for school to get over, I would rush to my house, and finish my homework quickly. In first standard, we had one page of handwriting in Hindi and English, and some simple addition and subtraction problems, on Wednesdays and Fridays we used to get homework in other subjects.

Once homework was done I would go to my favourite reading corner, a small chair painted red and white, that was kept in the living room. I would look at the beautiful pictures in the book and read each sentence slowly and aloud, I would wait for my uncle and elder sister to return from office and tell them what adventures Oliver had faced. It used to amuse both of them and they would listen to my enthusiastic mumblings patiently. I finished reading the book in a month, and my passionate affair with Dickens, his books, and his powerful characters started.

I used to pester my uncle to get me books, I used to say-"Mama(Uncle), just get me one set of dresses for Diwali, for the remaining amount of money get me books." I really thank my uncle from the bottom of my heart for all the generosity and affection that he showered upon me, and the love for literature that he kindled in my mind when I was just a small boy. By the time I was eleven years old I had finished reading the illustrated classics versions of Dickens, Alexandre De Dumas, and Jules Verne. I especially loved "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne and "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Dumas.

When I was thirteen years old we had "A Tale of Two Cities" as our supplementary reader and this time the text was pretty close to the original. Once again Dickens weaved magic with his words, portraying Paris during the revolution, Darnay's love for Lucy, and the supreme sacrifice of Sydney Carton. From then there was no looking back, the Library hour that we had once a week in school was devoted to devouring the works of Dickens. I started by reading "Oliver Twist" again; then I read "David Copperfield" and "The Pickwick Papers."

By the time I reached my tenth standard I had finished reading most of the works of Dickens. High-school was absolute misery, I hated Mathematics and Chemistry, drawing the diagrams in the record-books for my Science laboratory classes was another torture that I had to undergo. Finally in May 2002, when the Class XII results came out I realized I had passed in all the subjects.

There was no room for any doubt, it was English Literature for me, and to the dismay of most of my school teachers and friends I joined B.A. English Literature in college. Three years that I really enjoyed and learnt a lot about literature and life, I would like to thank Mr. K.V. Rao. Mr B.S. Suresh, Mr. P.V. Ramanathan, Mr. Balaji, and Mr. Prasanna for imparting a lot of knowledge and teaching me to believe in myself.

Three years passed like a breeze, and the campus recruitment started, I took a test along with about 700 other students to join an e-learning company. The test contained questions on basic English grammar and usage and an essay section where we had a choice of six topics, of which we had to write essays on three topics. My first essay was on "India in the year 2020" the second essay was on "The Impact of Computers on Modern Industry" and the third one, my personal favourite "My Favourite Author." The author of my choice was Charles Dickens, and I poured my heart into the essay. When the results were announced after an hour of anxious waiting only two students had cleared the test and I was one of them. The other boy who was selected did not join the company as he decided to pursue his higher studies in Australia.

I was called for a personal interview and to my surprise and joy at the end of the evening I had an offer letter in hand. Today three years later and in another company, I really thank Dickens for I am sure my essay on Dickens got me my first job.

1 comment:

Aswin Kini said...

Great da, even i too had the habit of reading a lot of books during my schooldays. But while you studied novels, i studied books like Gokulam, Tinkle, and Wisdom. I loved those days. Unfortunately, my reading habit completely declined after my tenth standard. I read books very rarely nowadays. Thanks for reminding me. I just got a copy of the book "The Alchemist", need to go home early and start reading. Thanks for reminding me da. Great post!!!

For your info: I was one among those fatefull 700 students who attended the interview conducted by that Elearning company in 2005. Sweet memories yeah!!!!

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