I peer through my glasses and find my 68-year old eyes a lot less reliable than I had hoped for. But my grandchildren Rahel and Vaarish are there unmistakably, sitting uptight on the sofa and fiddling with a couple of gadgets. I call them to my side.
“When was the last time you read a book, dear,” I asked.
“We have thousands of books in our tablet, grandpa,” Rahel responded innocently.
“But have you even read fifty out of them,” I smiled. “Let me tell you about a book which I had read when I was young,” I continued meditatively. “Titled as ‘The Guardian Angels’, it was penned by one Rohit Gore and is now no less than a classic.”
My words piqued their interest and both the kids lent me their fullest attention.
“It was one of the best novels I had read that year. Though the story itself was intelligently plotted, it was the brilliance of the author which got me impressed. The way he narrated it made the tale an arresting one. I also admired the usage of words and the impeccable vocabulary-“
“What’s the meaning of impeccable,” little Rahel interrupted.
I chuckled. “You kids don’t read books these days. No wonder, your vocabulary is weak. Impeccable, my dear, means something which is perfect or flawless.”
“Oh,” she made her eyes big.
“So what was the story about, grandpa,” Vaarish quizzed me next.
“Ah, some say it was a love story. Some say it was a tale of unbroken friendship. I find it hard to bracket it into a particular genre. It was about two people Aditya and Radha. They were friends, actually more than friends. Perhaps lovers, perhaps more than just lovers. They were poles apart in their lifestyle and thinking. But they were always there for each other, like a guardian angel.” I sighed with a faraway look in my eyes.
“Did you buy that book grandpa,” Vaarish flicked a question I wasn’t expecting.
“I didn’t buy the book, though I recommended it to most of my friends and fellow bloggers. It was published by Grapevine, which as you know, is one of the top publishing houses of India. At Rs 125, this book was a steal.”
“So, did you steal that book, grandpa,” Rahel interrogated in her innocent way.
I laughed aloud.
“Haha, no dear, not in the literal sense. But I got a free copy from the author himself. Being a young author, Rohit was anxious and curious about how the book is received by critics. So, he sent me a copy and requested me to review it. And you know what,” I flashed a wicked grin. “I loved to hoard good books and this one had an enticing cover pic. So, I also requested ‘The Tales Pensieve’ to send me a copy.”
“You mean ‘The Tales Pensieve’ which is headed by Debdutta S. Sahay?” Vaarish nearly stood up in excitement.
“Yes, that’s the one,”
“OMG, we have done a small project on that company. ‘The Tales Pensieve’ is now one of the biggest Indian platforms for book lovers.”
“Why don’t we sign up for it Vaarish bhaiya,” Rahel suggested.
“Excellent idea,” he murmured assent. “I have the link saved in my phone. See, it’s http://thetalespensieve.com/reviewers-sign-up/ “
“By the way, grandpa, so do you still have that book? Can we see it,” Vaarish went on.
“Yes, I have both the copies. I actually treasure them. During those days, I even studied the language and narrative style of the author in details. You shall find my penciled marks on almost every single page.”
I got up, strode into my room. The little ones followed me excitedly. Rummaging my shelf, I pulled out the two copies of the book and handed them a piece.
“Wow, what a cover,” Rahel exulted.
She eagerly opened it and flicked through a couple of pages. I spotted my own handwriting there below the acknowledgement section. “Ah look, I had scribbled my view with a pencil after I read the book,” I pointed with an air of wisdom and pride.
She read eagerly- my own words written in 2013 being read by my grandchild in 2053-
“Rohit Gore has an excellent command over language, narrative and vocabulary. There is a flow to his writing which sets him apart as one of the most promising young authors. The parallel sub-plot where he highlights the menace of Huntington’s Disease is also praiseworthy. I shall rate this book 4 out of 5.”
Both Rahel and Vaarish, like two children who had rediscovered their lost toys, got eager to read. But sitting through a volume of 328 pages would be an uphill task for the young teenagers. So, like their own Guardian Angel, I came to their rescue, leaned back on my chair and started reading to them...