Somewhere on the old airport road in Bangalore was once a huge fort (read: shopping complex) for kids called Kemp Fort. Did I just say for kids? Because it wasn’t all for kids. Now that I recollect it, the first floor was women’s clothing and accessories. Sarees in golden and the most beautiful shade of blue – you know, that blue? The one that you see very rarely but when you do, you clobber everybody around you to look at it and give you the exact name of the damn blue and they don’t know the shade but all they know is that they don’t want to be friends with you anymore, also the one that is simply unattainable for small little projects like setting up the header for your blog? Yes, that lovely shade of blue.
I remember the floor distinctly because every time I entered the damn fort, I felt royal. On one end of the floor, there was the smell of popcorn and softie ice cream mingling in soap bubbles being blown by Goofy. On the opposite end, there were colors of a thousand different colors dancing on a whole showcase of bangles, earrings and necklaces in assorted sizes and shapes, tall mannequins clothed in the most exquisite sarees that I have seen only there; shoes, sandals, dress materials all throwing out a myriad of colors. I used to be very mad at this floor because so many colors and all I could have was the boring white popcorn, which smelled great but, you know, still.
The second floor was rather uninteresting because it had household stuff – crockery, curtains and the likes. The third floor was my favourite because here were colors I could afford buying. Like Kelly dolls and books and stationery that nobody in the history of mankind knows how to use – A sharpener concealed beneath a pink bush like object with scary blue eyes on top of it. I am pretty sure it wasn’t a sex toy. It was just a sharpener that was unusable.
There was also a whole section of books for kids, teenagers and et al. The section I used to haunt was called ‘young adult’ and it is very special to me because most of my firsts happened here. My first Judy Blume, my first set of Princess Diaries, also now that I think about it, my first journal was picked up from here. I remember picking up the first book of The Princess Diaries and giving it a quick glance. I read the first page and was immediately impressed because it had a date and so I thought it must be a diary so I picked it up and scrammed to my mother because I noticed a girl my age eyeing the pink and stars and stuff on the cover of the book. Needless to say, it lay on my table for about two and a half months, dusty and unread until one day I just picked it up and started reading it. And I am not exaggerating when I say that I haven’t been the same person since. The Princess Diaries series has been the only book that I have read without stopping until the end. I don’t care about what kind of a reader that makes me.
M.A English and then a teaching job where I regularly share space with some of the finest people and this is still the only book I was/am a huge sucker for.
I related to Mia and her dramatics quite naturally because I was a lot like her those days and still am maybe. It gave me an unforgettable reading experience because after that pretty much every book I’ve picked up, I have struggled to finish. And I am ashamed of it. It takes me 2 months to finish a book. And it just keeps getting worse. At one point I thought it could be the internet’s fault but it isn’t. I am just a lousy reader.
But here’s to The Princess Diaries.
Next up: Judy Blume!