by Vimala Ramu
Recently I read about an ex-president of India and a friend of his in connection with one of his campaigns. This friend happened to be an ex-dean of one of the premier Institutes of India.
This took me back to the time when the same dean (then a professor) had permitted us to stay in his quarters during his sojourn abroad. Though we did not personally know him, the deal had been facilitated through a common friend.
The house being one of category A had a huge lawn in front of the house, a bedroom and a study downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs, in addition to two big halls, a spacious kitchen and a store room, servant quarters etc.
The professor’s wife had dumped all her things into the kitchen store and had left the keys for me. We moved in much after they left.
Life was simply great with children and adults enjoying alike the green lawn. I had been blessed with a spacious house and a family of Nepalis to do all the household work.
But, a locked door is always a temptation. Though the good lady of the house had not stopped me from entering any room, a niggling sense of moral correctness was holding me back from trespassing and checking as to what lay behind the locked door of the kitchen store.
One fine day, when I could no longer contain my curiosity, I took the key bunch, searched for the right key and opened the store room. My! What met my eyes just took my breath away! There was a shelf with stacks of books, best sellers, classics, fiction, non fiction _all popular literature well used. Some of the books had just been thrown here and there in a hurry. I just could not contain my excitement. I had stepped into verily a treasure trove.I decided to make the best use of my discovery.
With a sense of utter reverence, I would take out one book at a time, make sure the door remained locked, to discourage my equally curious, but irreverent children from vandalizing the room, finish reading the book and return it to its right place before borrowing the next.
What luxury it was - a green lawn and a cache of books all within the four walls of our (temporarily though) house!
I managed to read all the books before moving out. It was unfortunate that I could never meet the erudite,book-loving couple to convey my thanks in person.