Wednesday, April 7, 2010
When I was young, my dad was away at work a lot. Amma worked as a teacher so most of my time was hanging out with Seeya. He had and has a voracious appetite for reading so I’d say 80% of our time was spent in libraries. I vividly remember getting lost in British Council, bawling my eyes out and finally being reunited with him. He looked down at me briefly and then went back to his book with not so much a shrug.
We also frequented the municipal library, the little libraries built in almost every major town. Our library wasn’t major though, it had a jam tree in front of it, a tuk-tuk park and a Buddha statue next to it. But it had ALL the daily papers to which Seeya honed in like a bee to well…honey. He and I sat in our little dingy corners, him with his nose on the papers, and me sitting in little colourful chairs going through children’s books.
One day I found a stash of old Russian children stories, which bring me to the point of this post. Most were translated to English and a few to Sinhala. I assume now that they were gifted by our great comrades in friendship and delivered to all the public libraries and government schools to remain untouched until someone like me came along.
They were pretty addictive and now that I look back, quite distinctive in its art. Most had stories with wolves and foxes in them. (quite mystical) or stories based on environments with snow storms and ice (quite alien to a Sri Lankan kid). But I poured over them because most of the Russian folk stories had a weird sense of magic in them. I suppose it’s the combination of dark woods, the unknown and then a happy ending at the end.
I found some similar ones on a flickr link too.
Maybe I’ll look for a few publications to keep for myself. For nostalgia and for the love of the distinctive art.