“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” J. K. Rowling
The books were all around me, waiting to tell me their stories, in the large library that my father kept. But the earliest exposure to stories were through my grandparents—they were the best storytellers, and I remember the summer evenings in my ancestral home in Kerala where we cousins would light the lamps and rush to sit on the floor to enjoy a repetitive story. I don’t remember the stories, but I remember how much we laughed over an especially funny fox or a foolish monkey. I don’t know whether those evenings made me touch the books in their library but I am certain that it helped create an early bond amongst us.
It was much later, when I was around eleven years old, however, that I got my first exposure to a book I would remain a fan of—the irreplaceable Harry Potter. I still remember the evening when my father gave it to me. I don’t even know what made him do that because till then I wasn’t into books. I had never even tried anything bigger than the monthly children’s magazine. It was in a brown paper cover, and imagine my surprise when I saw that it had the name of one of the most popular movies till then! I just knew it was a magic story. That same evening, I started to read it. To be honest, I did not even understand what was happening even after I finished a chapter. It was irrelevant to me whether I even understood it, such was my interest for the book.
That was my first. After that, J. K. Rowling taught me a thing or two about novels and I was myself writing one at the age of thirteen (couldn’t help having elements of Harry in my main character, though!)
May be kids just need that spark. My father introducing me to Harry Potter meant a lot. I went on to love English at college as I found it easy to let the words flow from my pen. Needless to say, I had a very good time in the English department than anywhere else.
I was also bent upon passing this magic from my initial book onto another. I would make it a point to open the storyland to someone—yes, I’m guilty of diverting people from books that I thought did not deserve the attention, but that’s another matter—and still feel that a good book is the best gift you can give to help a child in the long run. One of the most satisfying moments of my life was when I got the approval to start the book-issue system in a school library, and in another, an entire collection got approved for issue by students. I would enjoy watching the children come into the library during lunch hours and buy a set of thin comics to feed them in the breaks. And all the while, smiling at them, I knew they were better off than before.
It was only a few months back that I discovered the spark that technology could create. The sparkling eyes of little children learning Math and English through tablets in urban slums of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The naughtiest of them wanting to prove their best on a tablet, and even discovering activities and games in them. They were eagerly showing me how much they knew and did not hesitate to help out their classmates.
Well, what if the spark of a book and that of a tablet could be brought together? Can we hope for a new set of readers, the kinesthetic personalities flipping through the pages of an eReader and not a gaming app? Can we bring back the magic of the ancestral house through powerful Indian stories? Can we create an awareness about books in them through a social platform where they write reviews, share their views and connect with others who share or challenge their literary taste?
That’s what we at Kitablet are driving at. It’s still too early to tell you where it is going, but yeah, some of us would do anything for the love of reading! We just hope your kid will like it when it reaches his/her school, and keep hunting for more and more books to read!
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