One day after about two years of continual Enid Blytons, (I was bound to get bored some day-even with Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy-lol) I was foraging Mama's cupboard for something (and turning everything upside down for which I remember I got the worst scolding of my life-lolz). Suddenly, I brushed against something that felt like a very old hardcover edition book. Taking it out, I saw Nanaji's stamp on the first page. My curiosity aroused, I turned the pages- it was Alice in Wonderland and Through the looking glass in a full hardcover bound edition (I don't remember the year). I was surprised because mama never kept any books in her cupboard-they were always kept in the library. Uptil then, I had not realized that Alice's adventures were enumerated in a full fledged book by the author and I had always believed that the small edition I had read was the entire story. Suddenly mama came in and when she saw me with her book, she went quiet for some time. Wondering at this silence, I approached her, held her hand and asked her about the book.
She was visibly far away- I got to know later that the book had a lot of sentimental value for her-Nanaji (who died about 22 years ago) had gifted it to her when she stood first in her class at school, '"This book" she said will always remain special for her. Then she explained me the essence of Carrol's masterpiece by speaking the same words that her father had spoken to her all those years back- " It is more enjoyable to read Alice in Wonderland in teens. The appreciation of the book comes better in that age".
I didnot get to read the book till I was 16 when mama(she considers 16 as a milestone in terms of ages) gave it as a gift to me on my birthday. It is still the best birthday gift of my life-to give away something you hold so precious even if to your daughter is not an easy task and I really appreciate her for it.
Well, I began reading the book and let me tell you I was bewitched from the word go! The simple narrative and Alice's activities ( inspite of being somewhat impossible) had an..um..'earthly'(there's no other word that I can think of) feel to it.I felt transported right into Alice's world- the innocence of Alice when she exclaims about the injustice of the queen of hearts, the comic situations with the cat and the caterpillar, the unusual tea party, Alice continually getting taller and shorter in height and the unexpected ending really left me spellbound AND all this was not yet over! When I reached the introductory page for THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS part, I remember I was really excited to know that the book was not yet over and I savoured this part with as much relish as the first one. For the first time in my life, I actually understood what a person who lived in a totally different time period was trying to convey when he told his child to read a book at a particular age. I can now be thankful that I was given the right books at the right age by mama and today, all those years later I can totally understand how important that is!
Here's to Alice- enthralling young people for generations to come!