Tuesday 30 November 2010

Mahabharata - The oldest book on my shelf.

Mahabharata by C.Rajagopalachari

MAHABHARATA written by C. Rajagopalachari and published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has been in my family since 1970s when my grandfather purchased it during one of his routine visits to his friend’s bookshop. It was then handed to my aunt V and I got it when I was about 8 years old.

Aunt V is an incredible woman and plays a very important role in my life. I have learnt heaps from her. I enjoy listening to her and have done so, for the last twenty something years. During the school holidays, when my cousins and I used to gather at aunt V’s house, every evening after the meal, she used to narrate us stories. She is a master story teller and has a beautiful manner of narrating stories even to this day.

I used to imitate aunt V and pretend as if I was her and narrate stories to my 'virtual' listeners during my playtime. I wanted to be able to narrate stories like Aunt V. She has always been my role model. When aunt V learnt of this, she passed on the book Mahabharata and the 8 Series of  short stories - Krishnavataar by K.M. Munshi to me so that I could read and narrate few short stories to my listeners.

I particularly like the book Mahabharata. It is a small 329 paged book and each chapter depicts examples of courage, strong will and pure mind and ends with a moral.

When  Aunt V gave me the book, it was just appropriate for an 8 year old – educational, informative, and morally rich and presented in simple English that was easy to read and understand.  

I really enjoyed reading this small book. The short chapters of the book, kept me turning the pages one after another without stopping. This was the first book that I read with zeal of enthusiasm and interest. It inspired me to become an avid reader that I am today. It played an important role in attracting an audience especially as I began to participate in story telling club and drama activities in school.

The book is close to my heart and so many fond childhood memories are associated with the book, and for that reason, I have always kept the book with me and I will never let it go off. I have read the book several times now. Each time I read the book, it takes me back to my childhood days and it endlessly draws me in and I like the book even more.

Just like Aunt V who inspired an 8 year old to develop an interest in reading, I would hope to pass on this book to a young and an impressionable mind who loves stories and books.

Mahabharata & Krishnavataar

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  1. how nice of your aunt to have instilled the reading habit in you...

    old books specially that we cling to since our childhood days are close to the heart..and they always remain special no matter what !

    happy reading :) and good luck for the contest :)

    P.S. your post is making me feel like participating too :)

  2. Nice post and memories. :-)

    I have C. Rajagopalachari's version of the Mahabharata, too, along with many other versions and interpretations of the Mahabharata !

  3. Mahabartha was indeed a great influence .. i rmemeber watching the serial when it came i was in india then ..


  4. @ Nu: thank you. Yes why dont you participate in those contests (atleast once in a while)?

    @ thatandthisinmumbai: oh..do you have the same book?great. did you buy it or someone gifted you that one?

    @bikramjit: i used to watch Ramayan and Mahabharath too on DD1

  5. So nice of your aunt, AH. I was very influenced by Buddhacharita when I read it in class 6. Then I read Ramayana and Mahabharata got hooked on to books since then. I used to spend my pocket money on Nandan, Nanhe Samrat and Wisdom. Reading is a richly rewarding habit and it must be instilled at a young age. Very nice post :)

  6. @ Ajay: Thank you. I know of 'wisdom'. I have read it a few times.

  7. Oh, sorry to tell you, AH, somebody ripped you off. The Mahabharat was written by B.R. Chopra not by C. Rajgopalachari.

    Actually, I have read it a few times too in my teen years, the unabridged version, about 1200 or so pages. Big full size pages too, almost A3 size. Without going into debate about the authenticity of the stories, I'd say it's a book full of wisdom and life lessons that we can all use even in today's life.


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