I loved her the moment I set eyes on her .Ow on second thought, I think I am not being entirely honest here. The truth is I started loving her only after I laid my hands upon her and that too after two or three times. But the fact is I felt an internal connection with her and that love or admiration or whatever one want to call it hasn’t waned one bit.
I still vividly remember the day she literally stormed into my life. It was not a pleasant or an adorable entry as one would imagine about a long standing relationship. It was on the contrary a tumultuous one, I got beaten up that day on account of her and had to spend that night on a hungry note.
I was about 11 or 12 at that time and was anxiously waiting for my dad to come back from office . You know when guys turn 12 and if they still wait ‘ANXIOUSLY’ for their father to return home, there could be only two possible reasons.
One – he would be bringing something yummy yummy to eat .
Two- A Cricket bat or maybe a whole cricket kit.
It was definitely not the first one because my class test marks were in my bag and no amount of yummy yummy was going to make me wait for him ‘ANXIOUSLY’ with that ticking time bomb in my bag.
The package in his hand was in no way long enough to be a cricket bat and definitely not round enough to be a tennis ball or football. My mom was to blame for she was the one who was giving me high hopes saying that dad would be bringing you something today you would really like. Aaah moms!!!!!!!!!!!
The bright colorful wrapper was peeled off and there she was ..Dressed in a bright red coat…the fat, sturdy and monstrous BOOK. I guess there is no need to explain my rage and the reason for my blue buttocks afterwards. It was indeed a stormy start.
Technically speaking it was not a book but a dictionary ‘MERRIAM WEBSTER’S NINTH COLLEGATE DICTIONARY’. A big fat one with 1564 pages, so heavy that I could have killed my brother with that. Sorry if I sound a little blunt but I was really short of weapons back then.
That’s how she walked into my life, the little red rays of fun . We had a pretty good run over the years; I remember carrying her in my bag to school with the intention of throwing some real tough words at my English teacher. I stood outside the class for 2 hours after that futile attempt for I didn’t consider the fact that the dictionary was pretty big not to be noticed by the teacher.
I remember running to my home with the sole aim of knowing the meaning of the word ‘puberty’ hoping that it would mean ‘handsome’ as that was what I told my friend when he asked me for its meaning. Those days I never said ‘I don’t know’. Too arrogant even then.:D
The sweet days we had, the best book to play book cricket and I once even scored a 200 with my Mariam.
She was my first dumb bell, she was my stool to reach up on the Milkmaid shelf in the kitchen, she was the one who held my hand through many discoveries mostly teenage ones.:D
It was a safe haven for so many personal things of mine. It was the home of my feather collection. The secret abode of the news paper clipping and pictures I used to secretly cut from Malayala Manorama. The place I hid the PTA letter to my parents, the money I got from my grandfather, my favorite Kapil Dev card and so many things.
There are still a few left over feathers from my old collection even now and take my word she still smells young and fresh.
It was such a great pleasure being with her because every time I opened her there was something in it for me to learn. The joy of finding a new word , unearthing its meaning ,trying out its pronunciations brought about such happiness in me that made me closer to her and that’s why the dictionary is not just an ‘IT’ for me ,but a ‘SHE’.