The other day, I was resting on my bed after a stressful day in the office just when I felt a familiar fragrance. I felt delighted and opened my eyes and found some new books which had just arrived and were kept on my bed side table. I turned the pages of one book and smelled the soothing air rushing out of the turning pages. That fragrance reminded me of the beautiful childhood days when I was at my home.
During school days, each year, when the new session started, I eagerly waited for the new syllabus books. I enjoyed the visit to the bookseller with my father and buying all the books. I loved to read all the stories in the English and Hindi books as soon as I got home. The pleasure of holding the new books, with new plans for the new class cannot be expressed in words.
The course books were given to binders to get them binded with rexene paper. The decision of rexene colour (black, grey, blue, maroon) was a hard one.
After the course books, came the turn of the notebooks. My mom and dad covered the notebooks by brown papers. Selecting from among the beautiful cartoon nameslips was my task. Deciding which slip to paste on which notebook was a tough task, atleast for a kid. Then it was covered by plastic sheets, kind of laminated.
Likewise came the practical files, drawing files, and stationery like new geometry box, Stick pens, Natraj HB pencils, Natraj sharpener (we used to call it cutter), Apsara eraser, Natraj ruler (we used to call it scale) and pencil box. Most of the times, a new school bag too.
New class meant new school dress. Choosing from the colours which best matches the colour prescribed by our school was again a challenge. They said grey trousers and I dont know why somehow my grey was always different from their grey. It was a burden to keep those white shirts white till the school got over in the afternoon. New shoes, new white socks, tie and school belt.
I remember that my school was even more important to my parents and they stopped all their work to prepare me for the school. Ironed dress, polished shoes, tiffin full with delicious hot food it was all ready before I even woke up. When I went to school, my mom used to bade me bye till my rickshaw disappeared from the view.
It was a tradition that I lost atleast one water bottle every year. Sometimes the cap of water bottle had a game of small steel balls where the balls were to be put in the middle ring of the maze. I loved playing that game on my way from school to home by the rickshaw.
I feel amazed to realize that at that time, how important was each and every thing to me. Owning a Pilot pen (Gifted by my father on my birth day) and using it for writing in examinations was a moment of pride. The cardboard pads with clips for exams, with cartoon characters were awesome possessions.
Suddenly my mobile rang. A reminder to wake up. I came back to present. Some work to do. I have to read a report which is on my laptop. As we all use technology now-a-days, with environmentalists loudly appealing to minimize the use of paper, I wonder will it be a real life for the new generation to read and learn without the fragrance of new books.
I still feel delighted to remember old days, not just because of the memory, but also due to some stimuli like fragrance of paper which is still the same as it used to be. Sensing these things today, I feel like reliving those moments for a while. But if the present generation kids will not have any fragrance attached to their memory, all they will know is the silicon based material (used to make computing devices) for everything they do. In that case, when they will grow up, how will they embrace and cherish the golden moments of their childhood as much as we can do today…