Monday, April 14, 2014

Love for the STS Library, and the Lala Saga

Just like chocolates give me a high (not all brands, mind it), books give me orgasm. From the buying process till turning the last page, its like an ecstatic ride. This could be a thankful gift from STS, and their exhaustive library. 

my love for books :)

 If you have read my posts, you must be aware that we had two school buildings - one in Karol Bagh and one on Mandir Marg in Gole Market (New Delhi). Both the schools have their own standalone libraries. STS libraries are known to have a vast array of books. Especially knowledge books. Series of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Mythological series, leather bound/ hard bound classic series, abundant science (physics, chemistry, biology) books - name the author and its available, mathematics books dating to 1950s, reference books, probably from first print, first edition till the latest editions. 

The huge expanse of the library - where one could hide the whole day, not attend any lecture, and drown yourself in the books. Well I have done that, (sorry ma'am, I know many of my teachers are reading this). The dusty shelves towards the back, which had older editions of reference books, and some not so famous fictions - yellow pages, some torn and then cello-taped carefully by Ritu (I will talk about her a bit later). 

The staircase leading to the library - in my times

I just missed talking about the junior school library. The library was on the first floor, just above the principal's room. We had one library card, and we could issue one book for a week. I read my Enid Blyton series lending them from the library. And I love them, like you. I used to preserve the library book, and it's home was a special pocket in my rug sack. My friends named it as the library pocket. I was somehow proud of the fact. The junior school library was done in yellow, in my days. I think it also had some blue tables. It felt so grown up, to search the library shelves, and pick out our books, get them issued. Aah, bliss was the library day, every Wednesday that was. 

The red brick building is the library, and the steps.. the mural of out school motto on the wall

Coming back to the senior school library, I haven't spoken about fictions. Ofcourse I read quite a bit of it. I was, and am still, inclined towards classics. And what better way to read them - hard bound or leather bound Elliot and Brönte, De Maurier and "Barbara Miller". I shouldn't forget to mention - Erich Segal, Danielle Steel, Sydney Sheldon, Jeffrey Archer and the likes. 

The three fold steps going down from the second floor library to the assembly courtyard used to serve as the reading place (the library had an extensive seating arrangement, but reading Danielle Steel and likes wasn't allowed in the premises). I recall spending many such lunch breaks and free periods sitting on the steps. My friends used to come over and hand me a breadpakora or a samosa, so that I don't feel hungry in the next physics and chemistry classes. I adore them for their love. 

Ritu, as I mentioned before, is the assistant librarian in our senior school. She is a specially able lady (was a young girl when I was a student). I doubt the lovely library could have a better keeper. The arrangement of books, registers, issue status, maintaining the discipline of the school. Oh, Ritu!! The library would run haywire when she used to be on leave, which was rare. Her smiling face used to greet us, always. I had a special bond with her. I loved to help her, talk to her, listen to her tales all about books. She used to read a lot as well. She had her own library cards. Ritu, in her salwar kameez and nicely ironed dupatta, miss you, and will visit you soon. 

A lot many library takes could be reproduced here. Let some be in my memories, like treasures. 

modern lala ka pitara - some of my super seniors trying to figure it out. 
Picture courtesy: seniors

No "L" can end without the mention of Lala. A true businessman, old, in his Gandhi topi, and white kurta pyjama, and with his small wooden box with glass top, used to sell aam papad, ram laddu, aloo ke chips, and some real desi sweet meats. No bif brands, no adverts, just lala ke ram laddu, lala ke chips, lala ka ye, lala ka woh. 50paise for a chip packet, 50 paise for peanut packet, 75 paise for aam papad (STSers, please confirm). The tangy taste of the aam papad churan lingers on my tongue, till date. My then principal, Mrs Manoharan, who happens to be our school alumni as well, paid a special tribute to Lala, on his prayer meeting (we lost him when I was in 11th standard). A special assembly was arranged, and his family members attended the same. Now his son runs the same small wooden box business, but probably lacks the acumen lala had. I have relished quite a bot of the stuff, sometimes by paying, and sometimes just by showing the cabinet badge. He was way too generous for the cabinet, for some unknown reasons. I do not know his real name, till date. 
Much love to the dear soul. 

This post is dedicated to the A-to-Z blogging challenge - the largest Blog Challenge in the history of Blogkind. My selected theme is "memories of St. Thomas' "- my Alma mater. This is the tenth post of the challenge, and is linked to the letter L: L for Love for the STS library, and the lala saga.. 
Linking this post to UBC too. 

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