What do you read, kid? Sherlock, Enid Blyton or The Hunger Games, Harry Potter?
Find out the difference in our and their reads. Check what these authors discussed at the Tata Literature Live 2015.
When your memory fleets back to childhood, which book do you see in your hands, basking in the winter sun, sitting at a corner of the terrace or balcony? Well, if you ask me, the answer would mostly be Enid Blyton, Sherlock Holmes or Satyajit Ray’s Feluda. Those days, a book was the best comfort apart from school and friends. We read classics as our family insisted on them, even though we might not have liked each of them.
Has the trend of reading the same books changed through years? Do our children read very different books these days?
This was a very interesting topic for discussion at the Tata Literature Live 2015 in Mumbai. Eminent authors like Ashwin Sanghi, Anuja Chauhan discussed and conversed with Malavika Sangghvi and Shovon Chowdhury, with Hrishikesh Kannan chairing the session. We attended this event and it made wonderful food for thought in our otherwise busy literature scenario. Do we evaluate or observe what kids are reading these days?
The authors reminisced their childhood and classics were a clear winner there. Malavika Sangghvi mentioned reading Daphne Du Maurier, who wrote those enchanting books decades ago, but we still enjoyed them in our teens. They had such hidden, subtle romance and thrill that it didn’t matter to which era the books belong. Did you know Ashwin Sanghi’s grandfather gifted him with a book every week? That is such a heartening piece of memory! Books were treasured and collected those days besides reading; the menacing paws of ebooks and pdfs didn’t sweep them away.
Anuja Chauhan said that perhaps our childhood had better writers than our children have now. But perhaps that’s a bit of romanticising our childhood and being a little harsh on theirs. “It is important to read all genres of literature,” mentioned Malavika Sangghvi. But with the advent and rise of fantasy and mythology these days, it’s difficult for children to focus on contemporary and mystery books when all their friends are discussing The Hunger Games or Harry Potter.
Sherlock Holmes had disappeared from our children’s bookshelves until the tv series came on. So was Feluda until movies in Bangla were being made to revive the character. That is sad, mostly because Satyajit Ray made more money writing the Feluda series than making films! It is expected that our next generation would keep reading such gems and imbibe the same joy that we did reading them.
Shovon Chowdhury still reads comics with his teenage son. I recall we used to scurry for the newspaper each day to take a glimpse of Mandrake and Phantom comics. I wonder how many children are fond of comic strips these days.
It was a wonderfully enriching and a little saddening session with these authors, leaving us with a lot to think about our children literature these days.
— By “PRB”
Also blogs actively at Oneandahalfminutes – A moment. Reminiscence. Rumination. Musings.