Sadly, I cannot recall the exact day and the exact time when I became an avid reader of Classic Literature. Reading had always been a passion for me right from my childhood and I had started off by getting home Nancy Drew books from St. Michael School’s library at Durgapur. I am sure that laid the foundation for me as a reader. I remember graduating to books like James Hadley Chase while still in school or may be in college. Here again, I can’t recall the exact year. After devouring most of these JHCs, I got hooked onto Sidney Sheldon novels and other similar stuff which I could buy from the old paper marts at dirt cheap price. But I am sure I always yearned to read the ‘right’ stuff … though I didn’t know what it was and where to get it from.
Despite this kind of reading, one thing that always attracted me was history as a subject and I wanted to read more about the characters in the pages of all history books. I didn’t know where I would get all these from. I was attracted especially to Greek History and mythological characters and they held the most special corners in the sockets of my heart. Some great historical names like Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Julius Ceaser, Homer and even Sophocles kept me thinking and wondering in amazement. I always thought and wondered where I could read more about these Greek philosophers.
Till that time I satiated my thirst for reading with ‘cheap’ stuff (that’s what I feel now). Then, I guess, around 2006 I went to Inorbit Mall at Goregaon and ‘dared’ to enter the Crosswords bookstore there. Till then I was simply in awe of such places. I mustered up the courage to buy two most inexpensive books from there – ‘Tragedies of Shakespeare’ and ‘Little Women’ – out of the entire lot of fascinating books around me. I was feeling so ‘rich’ – both literally and figuratively – I had managed to buy books about which I had always dreamed of. I can swear on anything that it was the turning point for me as a reader and I became choosy of what I read. Earlier was I a random reader. Like they say for love, similarly, I fell hook, line and sinker for Classic Literature. From then on I only bought Classics.
While I was working in Reed Infomedia, the Shivaji Park Crosswords was close to my office and I started buying Classics from there regularly for myself, Jemimah and Jewel. I also discovered two things – my passion for Classic Literature and the fact that these books weren’t that very expensive. I could afford them. There was no looking back from there on. It must be around 2007-08. I had given the tag of a Classics reader for myself and I was mighty pleased about it.
Now I am an out and out Classics reader and whenever I read anything ‘light’, I feel disgusted - with the story line, with the filthy language and various other things. I feel I am doing injustice to my passion for reading by wasting my time on these silly books. I have evolved as a reader and I want to remain an ardent Classic literature fan. Come what may, no lighter stuff for me even though sometimes I find it difficult to understand what is being written. I don’t mind rereading my Classics to understand them fully but I want to read only these books. I want to fill my shelf and myself with Classics and feel great as a reader. So it’s only Charles Dickens, Alexander Dumas, Rabindranath Tagore, O Henry, Oscar Wilde and Jane Eyre for me now.