In my teen years and till I reached my late twenties, I would read anything I get my hands on. That’s when I found the suspenseful world of murder with Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner and the fabulous work of P.G.Wodehouse and so many writers. I flirted with Barbara Taylor Bradford, got tickled by The Thornbirds, looked for Catcher in The Rye because that was what prompted two assassinations, and ended up reading a Pocketful of Rye instead, and wondered what in that book triggered lunacy?
But, this is just to give you an idea of how I would read anything. I would actually give up books during my kid’s exams because once I get into a book, I’m zoned out. I have no idea what is going on around me. Most people party when their kid’s exams get over. I would excitedly pick up the book that I had left for myself as a reward for making it through their exams.
I’ve run away from home a couple of times, thanks to Enid Blyton. I’ve got caught only once. Most other times I’ve returned home without anyone being the wiser. I got scared and hungry. And as the day darkens, home doesn’t seem that bad anymore.
I’ve even persuaded one of my cousins to run away with me. I told her that I’d cut my hair short and pretend to be a boy (I’m sure that’s thanks to The Famous Five and George’) and would support us. Instead of waiting for me where I had told her to, she sneaked on me. I love her, but that wasn’t cool.
Most of the time when I ran away, the plan was to join the circus (Thanks to Mr. Galliano and Jimmy). Well, I never did run away, but thanks to Ms. Enid Blyton, I never lost my fascination for fantasy and that is probably why it is my favourite genre.
The thing is I live in my head most of the time. I’ve grown up always living in a story in my head. Of course, I was the heroine in every one of them and I got the good looking, bad boy, who everyone lusted after, in the end. I have Mills and Boon to thank for that. For all you X, Y and Z generations, that was the equivalent to Fifty Shades of Grey, when I was young. I wasn’t allowed to read these books of course, because there was kissing involved and how can a young girl read a book where there was kissing. Ah! The good old days!
But reality has always sucked. I had the woes that most girls, or maybe every kid goes through. My mom doesn’t love me, I have no friends, I mean the entire gamut, so reality had no lure for me. I sat in class, on the bus, when I was supposed to be doing my home work and pretended to live in reality, but in truth, I was actually living out the current story in my head.
That was one side of it, the other was books themselves. My other fantasy world, where I could sneak off to, when reality got ugly. And in those days I had the queen of them all, Enid Blyton. No wonder I got on the yellow brick road, so early in life.