It was the first day of X’mas hols and I’d already had my fill of movies, movies and more movies. It has been too much movies & facebooking and too little reading. This was NOT how I had envisioned me spending my hols. In my dreams, I’d been engrossed in book after book, and spent the rest of the time updating my blog and indulging in some quality writing (yeah right! *snort*). And let me tell you… the writing part – that has been a fantasy. And the last book I’ve read (or tried to read) is “Emma by Jane Austen”. Given the fact that I’ve tried to complete that book thrice without success, I think it is the most boring book I’ve ever encountered in my short book-addicted life. And I keep going back to it. Emma is kinda like a bug that I’ve tried to swat and swat but keeps getting away and keeps buzzing near my ears. Gosh! That, my dear friends, was probably the worst simile that you’ve ever had to read. My point is, I find the fact that I cannot complete a book, especially a world-renown classic, extremely irritating. And so I plough on.
Fuelled by that irritation and a fair amount of guilt, I went to the Thrissur Public Library with the hope that I would stumble upon a book so engaging that I can’t put it down once I’ve picked it up. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book like that, you see. Besides, I just wanted an excuse to breathe in the smell of thousands of dog-eared books and to walk around the grounds, plucking leaves, feeding non-existent rabbits and prodding ants into the water lily leaves in the fountain, as I have done throughout my childhood/teenage.
So I headed to the public library, picked up some books and proceed to make my way to my childhood playground. And imagine my surprise when I found that the fountain (which didn’t work) was missing and in its place was something which looked like a man covered by tarpaulin. Well well… that can’t be true can it be? So I move in for a closer look only to be thwarted by a lungi-clad worker’s evil eye with a beedi and his hoarse-voiced “പണി നടക്കണ കണ്ടില്യേ പെങ്ങളേ…?”
It was only later as I headed home that my father told me that the fountain is being demolished and is being replace by Mr.Karunakaran’s statue, to commemorate his death/birth anniversary (I’m still confused as to which). At this juncture, allow me to clarify that I’m a person not affiliated to any political party. The truth of the matter is, like scores of Indians, I’ve not taken the trouble to delve deep into any party’s policies or fundas and so based on their public performance, they all appear quite corrupt and fraudulent, at least to my uneducated eyes.
Having said that, I must also say that more than the destruction of my childhood memories, what bothers me is that from now on, a politician’s statue is to adorn the entrance of the library. I am aware that the library is not an apolitical body as I had believed before and that there is a fair amount of political intervention in its functioning (I mean, is there any organization free from party-affiliations in Kerala?).
However, Mr. Karunakarn doesn’t seem to be a person who is to be honoured in front of a library, particularly since not everyone would sing the same tunes about his political journey. Place his statue in front of his party office – yes that’s alright. But a library is a place where, as clichéd as it sounds, young minds are moulded…ignited. You want to place a statue, the put one of A.P.J Abdul Kalam. Or Kunjunni Mashu. Or V.M Basheer. Well… what is done is done. All I can do is rant about it in my space. And wonder whether I’m the only one who is as disturbed by this as I am.
On a brighter note, wish you all a Merry Christmas!