That lost personal touch..

This morning, at the library, it dawned on me, how little person to person contact we have these days. I go in, take the books I want to return to the machine, return them, browse through the shelves, select books, and then self check them out.

Libraries have always been in my top of my list of  ‘happy places’. Ever since I remember. I actually remember how the first library I visited looked like. It was the library of my school’s primary section. I remember how I used to wait for the library classes – we had a period reserved for the library. We were not allowed to take home books until we were in Class 3, and I remember waiting impatiently to reach Class 3.

Our high school library was just as good. And our librarian was a darling! She was a wonderful, sweet tempered lady, with whom I used to discuss books. I remember waiting for Scarlett, the sequel to Gone with the Wind. When the book got released, I was in Class 10. Our school term was almost over. We had study holidays to prepare for Pre-ICSE, and we were not allowed to borrow books(time-pass books, that is). But I managed to convince my librarian to let me borrow it 🙂

I have had a wonderful time talking to librarians, discussing books, getting recommendations. I would have never read authors like Elizabeth George, Sophie Kinsella had it not been recommended by the librarians of the libraries I have frequented over the years. One of the librarians I met was a software engineer who quit her job to open her own library. How I wanted to be her at that time 🙂

In London, I used to go to the library almost every day. It used to open late, and I would often finish a book in the time it took me to get to work and back. So on the way back home, I would either drop off my book, or pick up new ones. After daughter was born, and after I took time off from work, we used to visit it even more. I think she must have been just as comfortable in libraries as she was at home. And what made my library visits so memorable was certainly the interaction with the librarians or library assistants.

That was before the age of self checkout machines. In London, our library had just started introducing them, and they refused to work most of the time, so I always ended up at the counter to borrow books. When we moved to Leeds, everything changed. The self checkout system here worked much better. I hardly had any contact with the library staff. They were almost always busy serving older customers who found it difficult to use the machines. And that is when I realized that although I have been frequenting my current library for over 3 years, but I don’t seem to know any of the staff! I know the checkout staff at my local supermarket better than that! And they have a much larger staff!

And that is only thanks to those soulless machines which I interact with these days.. The mere thought of all this, makes me yearn for the days gone by when the librarian would checkout each book, stamp it out, and talk to you about whether they read that book or not. Sometimes exclaiming that they had no idea that this library stocked this book, sometimes  asking me how I managed to read so much, while I tell them how I used to dream of being a librarian as a young child.. It makes me feel a little sad..  a little nostalgic for the days gone by, a little sad for that lost personal touch..

Public Displays of Affection

.. that I love!

Daughter hugging me and planting dozens of kisses on my cheeks in the middle of an aisle in a supermarket buzzing with weekend shoppers, kind of made my day. Even more so because there was no real ‘reason’ for it 🙂 It was just a spontaneous display of affection that she just had to make!

Every time I see her, I marvel at the big girl that she has become. All set to enter the threshold of ‘big school’. Proper school finally, with uniforms and all. Last Friday she had a  story telling session at school, and off she went without a backward glance. Broke my heart and made me proud at the same time.  She had been going to nursery since last year, but big school is big school. Now she gets to go to school ‘everyday’, the thought of which makes her beam with excitement.

As she crosses milestones after milestones, the happiness is mixed with a tinge of sadness that my baby is not going to be my baby for too long. Soon, such public displays of affection will not be ‘cool’ anymore, and I might just have to read this post to remind me of the time when I was so adored by daughter!


I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

Lucky that my school years have been some of the best times of my life. That I had teachers who I adored.

This video had been shared by one of my batch-mates on a social networking site. It says ‘memories of the 2007 batch’ – but surprisingly,  it could have been mine. The school grounds, the classrooms, the library I used to haunt…, the annual days, even some of the teachers who taught me are there in the video. To say, that I choked on emotions would be an understatement. It has been 17 years since I graduated from this school – but it feels like yesterday.

Last I went there was in 2005. I was pregnant with daughter then and it was to be one of my last visits to Jamshedpur. Dad was to retire the next year and move to Kerala. I had pulled husband along to come and see one last glance of my school. He had been surprised to meet teachers who still enthusiastically remembered me – one of them even told him that I was a ‘gem’ 🙂 Have to say, that made my day 🙂 It had felt wonderful to see some of my old teachers, the place where I spent 15 years of my life.

Whoever made this video, did not  just capture his memories – he gave me back some of mine – tucked away, almost forgotten memories.  As I always say, I just hope that my daughter is equally lucky with her school and her teachers.