Monday, April 04, 2005

Daddy and Catch 22

I looked lovingly at all of them. I loved all of them with a love I knew not I was capable of. So many of the books, well thumbed. My old books and icky fingerprints. A watch I once thought I lost, it was found ticking off to glory in one of my books. I hate folding the pages of a book as a book mark, neither do I leave the book upturned… book marks I don’t have coz am too lazy to carry them with me or something like that…hence whatever was handy was placed as a mark to resume reading…and one such object that lay forgotten for months was my poor old watch…

I looked on happily at them… you know the proud feeling that a mother hen will have when she sees her chickens frolicking about in the sun. Cluck, cluck… *Beam*… *puff out all the feathers*… cluck, cluck

On one corner was an old green book. A green and cream cover. There is a physical ache each time I see that book… “Catch 22”.

I’ve never read that book… cant…

It was daddy’s favorite book.

Achan’s lap was the best place in the world. The one place I liked to sit. Even if he was reading a newspaper, or correcting reports; he never minded me sitting there. I was small enough to comfortably fit in there and daddy was long enough…

I remember him reading it…

“What are you reading?”
“Catch 22”.

This was what I liked about Daddy. Had it been Amma, it would have been a brusque, “A book”. As if I didn’t have eyes! Hmpf!

“Who’s the hero?”

Yossarin… nice name. I thought about the name for sometime. No one in school was called that… Yossarin…

“When will I get to read that book?”
“Whenever you want to…?”
“Can I read it now?”
“Sure. Take a look…”

I crawled under the book and between daddy’s chin…Hmmm…lots of words…. No pictures…. I slid down again… Daddy continued reading…

“When will I want to read it?”
“When you are old enough”

As if I didn’t talk enough already, daddy made me talk all the more…

“When will I be old enough?”
“When you can read the book”

I burst out into peals of laughter. I liked the way he talked. He had answers to everything…

Lowering the book, daddy smiled at me and said, “I hope you like it when you read it… because I like it a lot…”

I nodded my head. Oh- of course I’ll like it. I liked all what daddy did. To this day I like the smell of cigarettes and pan…

Safest place in the world Posted by Hello

Its many years later… a lot of people I ask tell me that Catch 22 is one hell of a good book. Raving reviews liberally splashed everywhere…

A certain French friend of mine was reading it when in India… laughing over it, quoting from it… he even made me read a few random pages…

But daddy… I still haven’t read it… I can’t seem to progress beyond the first few pages of the green and cream covered book …

I don’t think I am old enough to read it… I don’t think I ever will be…


Anonymous Anonymous said...

dats me NANGGA!!!

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Blogger Buccaneer said...

hey poornima

u write well ! keep it going...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

poornima ...

first ..let me thank you for inviting me to view ur blog site

i just read catch 22 and dad...i am impressed! you hav brought out the little girl feel safe in her dad;s laps feeling beautifully in ur piece! i feel i am with my daughter not so very long ago! and yes no child will ever feel they have outgrown their parents :)

keep writing :) i will read this regularly


prabod kumar ( MM1960 of rediff)

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