I don’t use the Library-Thing app much—only when we have forgotten who we lent a book to. Today was one such day, and having opened the app, I was curious about what the 136 books in the attic were. Among my old school magazines—Baldwinians and Clarencians—were magazines that belonged to PTL (my kids) like Tinkle and Chatterbox and what not.

Then my eyes fell on these books.


These were the first books I remember receiving. They came to me by post, from the US to Calcutta. They had been sent by my dad’s boss Mrs Bertha Nelson from his time in Brooklyn Public Library before I was born, which would have been pretty recent at the time, considering that I was just three.

My father made a big deal of it. I had to wash my hands before handling the books, and he made me smell the newness. Somehow in spite of that, I did scribble in them, and the book jackets are long gone.

I read these books a million times. My children grew up with them and I have them with me in Auckland—I know I know, they’re in the attic—still, so precious!