Remember the Gujarati library we had near gujarati school in Jharia. Mom used to borrow books from there some times and I was allowed to accompany her to the library.There was a doctor s clinic on the ground floor. Patients filling up the portico of the old building.The library was on the first floor in one small room> I saw sunlight streaming in through cobwebbed windows and a man reading the Awaaz, our local Hindi daily newspaper. It has shut down since then and now i dont even know the names of the newspapers which are locally published in Dhanbad.
There was hardly any order to the books or may be I didn t even know that books had to be kept in a particular way in the library. All cupboards were overflowing with books. There was a Hindi section too. School we had Hindi and sanskrit as second and third languages. I learnt to read gujarati when we travelled to Gujarat, Rajasthan, UP, MP by car for a tirth yatra. We used to sing bhajans in the car and Gran had carried a lot of religious books with her. Simple, when I came back from the trip I could read and write gujarati. Bas It was such a natural process. I think music has that abilty to teach things and heal people fast.
So now when Mom went the library I tagged along with more interest. I read the books she read. She knew about the authors and I just knew the stories. They were simple clean books bigger fonts and the emotions which i could not relate to at that point.
Then we had a weekly called Chitralekha which came from Mumbai. We read a story called Jad Chetan which means Roots and Life. I lived my life with Tulsi, the main protagonist. Tulsi had a fiance and a good friend both men were very different. I took a decision that I will always marry someone who is a friend.
Mom Dad and self were so fond of this story which appeared weekly, Strangely no one else in the house read it much. And yes Tarak Mehta s US trip was so hilarious and Now it comes as a tv serial.
On one of my vacations to Jharia Maku Bhai said the library has closed down. "Why, Maku Bhai??I almost screamed. "No one reads gujarati and hindi books any more." He sounded a bit forlorn. That was one more childhood place gone. The memory of the smell of old books and the blue cob webbed window still lingers.........