Despite financial troubles there’s a sense in which my childhood was immensely privileged — a pauper in the material world, I was a sultan in the world of ideas.
I started by wanting to share that quote and link on my microblog and then my thoughts turned into a blog post sized comment.
I decided to post it here too, then.
That quote describes my life to a T, even now.
I might be financially down in the dumps, but when it comes to books, my friends and kinfolk, have always somehow found a way to keep me happy and occupied.
The school librarian knew I used the library for what it actually was, a repository of magic and wisdom, and not what most folks used it for, a sick bay.
Which meant at least once a month, I would tell my teachers I was sick, go to the library and read books for an hour and after a year, the librarian would turn a blind eye to my presence too.
I was lost in Verne and Poe and Dickens.
The roadside vendor at the railway station, who I would buy books second hand from, would always keep the keep the newest ones for me.
If I couldn’t pay, he’d lend them to me on the condition, that I return it in day or two
This is where I got to read epic fiction. Tolkien’s worlds and McCullough’s Rome, all entranced me.
As a young hardware engineer making calls all over the city, I got to know the nooks and crannies of Bombay and more importantly I learnt where I could find the books that I wanted to read.
The Strand, and the roadside vendors at Fountain and Matunga and other nooks and cranies across the expanse of my tiny (in area) city became intimate friends.
Crazy animé, Golden age Marvel, “Banned” books, Old scifi and fantasy authors like Asimov and Niven/Pournelle and and newfangled ones like Gaiman and GRRM and the ones who would merge story telling and philosophy like PKD or Anthony DeMello and Carroll.
Friends, family, bosses, coworkers have all been indulgent too.
I own the Ultimate Sandman, and the Complete Calvin and Hobbes, and the Complete Asterix, and a Niven novel that Asimov signed, and lots of Gibran, and lots of Anthony DeMello, and lots and lots and lots of hardbacks thanks to their generosity.
In a life, that has been constantly buffeted by storms, books have been my solace.
I may not not have graduated college, but books have been my education.
Books have gotten me over breakups.
Books have taught me how to save money and make it grow.
Books have made me a better human by passing on the wisdom of the ancients to me.
Books made me healthier by teaching me how to lose weight sustainably.
Books gave me a leg up in life.
Books are helping me reinvent my work life as I change careers to programming.
Books give me a leg up in life.
With books I have been truly privileged and truly blessed!