I started the blog with an introduction on May 1st--May Day--> and then stopped. Did I really stop? Or was it a small respite? :) I don't want my blog to sound like a place where I trumpet myself and when I started the blog, I had grand visions of making it very systematic. But what's systematic in life? Nothing.
So, how can a blog be?
I am happy I have an anonymous friend who's posting queries and that friend seems like a good, thinking soul. I am also thankful that an old translator colleague from another part of the world welcomed me onto blogosphere.
So, let us dwell on how I came to be into academics and into English studies ...
I was born in 1971 as we already know. I can recollect the first books that I was gifted and they were gifted to me as early as 1978-1979. I remember a kid version of Robinson Crusoe in 1979 and I remember getting Nancy Drew and puzzle books and also a huge Fairy Tales from Grimm.
Then all through the 1980s, I made a habit of asking for books as gifts from anyone who asked me what I wanted on my birthday. I guess I was clever too because parents and elders always buy clothes. So, what's the point asking for them?
I studied in a good public school in New Delhi and passed twelfth grade from there. We were allowed into the school library around 1985 or so, grade ninth, I guess. And since those days, I remember reading of issues of Reader's Digest. I even had a subscription to it. The issues that they published in the last 1970s were very good, especially the book sections. I used to try and read John Keats in 1987 in Class 11th but couldn't make much sense out of it. But in Class 11th and 12th, I had both English Core [compulsory] and Elective, which meant English Literature. I read Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd in Class 12th. I read R K Narayan's The Guide in Class 11th.
And it was in May 1989, when I was 17 years and 6 months that I bought and read Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. I was in College and I had history at Class 11th and 12th but what I learnt from Tolstoy, I never learnt from the great boks of history that I read. He really changed me. My maternal uncle got me that book and I forced him to buy it for me.
Those days, the Soviet Union was still intact and we got those cheaply sold but well produced books published by Progress Publishers, Moscow, and I bought my copy of Anna Karenina soon after. Must be September 1989. What a book! Even today, in 2008, I cannot forget the beautiful Natasha in War and Peace and the reformist Konstantin Levin in Anna Karenina. In November, my brother gifted me Insulted and Humiliated by Fyodor Dostoevsky [also called Insulted and Injured] and I got my uncle, one of my paternal uncles, my father's sister's husband, to gift me Dostoevsky's The Idiot on my birthday in November 1989.
I think if you read Tolstoy and Dostoevsky by the time on your 18th birthday, your life would be changed forever.
That laid a solid foundation.
By the way, I completed my BA in four years, not in three years, as most of us do in India. And I was the college Chess Champion and I was also the captain of my college chess team that won the first prize in the Delhi University Inter-College Chess Tournament.
I guess so much for now and something later. We should have something for the future always, so that people can remain interesting!
Thursday, May 22, 2008