Books are something mom and I have bonded over right from when I turned sixteen. She has always understood the madness that descends on someone when they’re reading because she has lived through it too. She had indulgent parents when it came to books and reading and so she was an indulgent parent right back. I say was because I no longer ask her if a book is too expensive to buy – I usually just buy it!
In fact one of my favourite conversations with her was when I was in Singapore and just before my exams, she said, “Beta I know your exams are coming so you’ll be tempted to read a book. Please don’t.” And then she saw my guilty expression. She just shook her head, exasperated. I confessed, “I’m in the middle of one.” She found she couldn’t even be upset with me because she would have done the exact same thing.
When I was sixteen, and transitioning from children’s books to adult books, she introduced me to the concept of Mills & Boon. At the time, MBs were sweeter and their writers more concerned with showing a heart stopping romance rather than just leading up to sex. But still I wasn’t really allowed to read her MBs.
Mom could polish off two in one day she was and is that crazy about romances and Mills & Boon. But she had three books – one purple, one green and one red – that she had loved and she had saved for me. She, in her time, had raided her father’s reading collection and she wanted to pass on that legacy, by allowing me to raid hers.
While choosing which of the three books I’d talk about in this post, I had a wonderful conversation with her, reminiscing those three books, and the softness and innocence of those romances. We even cursed the day when a friend of hers borrowed those three books, with the solemn promise she’d return them but obviously never did.
Thankfully, I had read the three before this friend borrowed them. But since it has been about fifteen years [gosh!] since we read or thought about them, it took us a while to remember the names.
The loo came to our rescue because it was there that mom remembered the name of the first love story that I read, Bed of Grass. I quickly Googled it and even found the right cover! Sometimes I do love the power of the internet.
I still remember all the feelings I felt when I was reading Bed of Grass. It was during this time that I read a lot of love stories and realized that miscommunication was a common thread among all of them. It was then that I pledged to myself that if I ever loved anyone, I wouldn’t just let them walk away or break up with me without asking for a proper reason. Sixteen-year-old me didn’t fathom that while I could demand the truth, the person may not be so forthcoming.
After I finished reading Bed of Grass, mom and I had a debrief. She asked me if I had enjoyed the book and I told her all the ways that I had and how the garden – basically the bed of grass – and the climax was our favourite scene.
Over the years, our book choices have diverged significantly but the shared love of reading has remained. It was she who bought me a Kindle because she thought I should be in possession of a new tech around books. We used to share it until she realized I needed my own, so bought me another. She’s like that – buying me things she knows I want but too chicken to buy for myself.
I’m taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s My Friend Alexa. For the next 1 month, I’ll be sharing some of my favourite bookish memories; hence the title Reading Tales.