Many people say that libraries have played a vital role in raising the cultural standard of Kerala. While all libraries are closed in the case of Corona, those who loved those libraries are now happy to have more time to read. Many of those who have had to put off the hustle and bustle can see on the walls of social media the news that they are enjoying a time of closure through reading.
My observation is that a generation that grew up through libraries is using social media responsibly. They write well here. It seems that ordinary writers do more than just official researchers and headquarters scholars. Although most people are unfamiliar, the words they share on social media have a wealth of experience.
Most of them do not claim to be writers. Yet the flexibility and mental maturity of the writers who are trained for their writing is evident.
This is not to say that interested parties spread lies and superstitions, they were always interested. They have abused anything that can be used for good. Leave them out and deliberately ignore them.
I started talking about libraries. Although many of those rural universities have disappeared, their contributions have not waned.
I first came across a library when I was in upper primary class. There was a library near the Kaipamangalam Fisheries School. I do not remember any of its names. The library in the small room, which did not even have an area of one hundred square feet, was neat and tidy. It seemed to me at the time that the young caretaker, whom I did not know, had handled the books and the bookstore very carefully.
Our family was near the Memorial School in West Perinjanam that day. My aunt Valsala Mohanan was a member of that library. I went there to pick up books for them.
My father had a good collection of books. They were all books in the field of knowledge. Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Unani, Herbal Mineral, Naturopathy and Communist Manifesto and Capital. I tried to read them all, but I did not understand anything.
The first day I took the roots of Malayattoor Ramakrishnan and a volume of Vilasini's heirs, as requested by Valsala's aunt. He also took Mali's story book. Although I had read 'Nalukettu' before, I really liked the roots that day. Although 'Heirs' took to reading, I never read it. The next time I went, I remember one of the books I picked up, the 'machine'. It took me a few days to read it.
We also started a reading room with my cousin Jyothish and neighbor Dinesh. Our own library was in a tomato box in a corner of the east porch of Dinesh's house. It did not move forward for a long time.
Serious reading was for the astrologer we called Unni. At a very young age he had read many books. Unni was the first to talk to me about storytelling and poetry. Dinesh introduced Poompatta, Ambili Maman, Lalu Leela, Balarama and Amar Chitra Katha. He was the one who brought the books. Both friends are no longer alive today.
Another facility I had then to read good books was the collection of books by my grandmother's son, Kondiyara Rajeev. It was from there that I read 'My Story' and 'The Story of a Country'. From there he started reading Malayalam Nadu, Saffron, Psychology Magazine, Mathrubhumi Weekly and Bhashaposhini. As my grandmother's house is in West Vembalur, I go there only on holidays.
We never got school textbooks. 'Futurology' published by Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad was the most important book I got then. Books that won prizes at science fairs were also parish books. There was no facility or interest in extensive reading then.
When I moved to Nedupuzha, my reading expanded. Rajesh brought the books from the library at Vattapinni. Ashoka used to go to the library in Vadukkara and read many novels. The Kanimangalam Library adjacent to the SN School is also important. I joined the SNB Library in Koorkancherry. Librarian Satyettan and Library Secretary Thampiyettan became good friends of mine. Mother, war and peace, Anna Kareena, beauties and beauties all got from there. It was then that the reading of encyclopedias, along with fiction, was taken seriously.
It was Aravindakshan Mash who gave the necessary instructions to write an essay comparing the style of Mundasseri Mash with the style of Kuttikrishna Marar. The library in Koorkancherry also provided books. First prize at the state level for that essay. The prize was books worth Rs 1,000 belonging to the Mundasseri Memorial Committee. It was a treasure in the eighties. So my book collection expanded. The second and ummachu were gifts from the school.
A lot of books ate up the crumbs and the leaking roof. And the great flood consumed them.
UK Suresh Mash, Mr. Raju David, Venu Master and TR Sureshettan have been instrumental in creating a sense of direction for our reading. KC Radhakrishnan, MV Murali, KM Sunilkumar, E Sunilkumar, Sreekumar and Binoy enriched our book discussions.
Although I later joined the Thrissur Public Library and tried to expand my reading and knowledge in depth and breadth, the Thrissur Public Library did not influence me. Didn't get the books I wanted. Not because it's not there, but because other readers have to give up to get the book. Unable to pay subscription and lost membership. But the reading did not stop.
It was in my life in Thiruvananthapuram that I was amazed at the great book wealth and service of the British Library. The staff there became friends with me. It was among the local books that I met the famous motivational speaker, Matthew Sir. Although I visited the Thiruvananthapuram Public Library and the University Library, my favorite was the British Library. Books that were not there would have been brought in, even from abroad. Life in Thiruvananthapuram was a time set aside for reading only.
Another library that comes to my mind is the Chathamangalam Rural Library in Kozhikode district. Although a small library, it was there that I repeatedly read 'Discovering India'. I'll be in touch with that library because my older sister's house is there.
What fascinated me most about the home book collections was the collection of IM Velayudhan Master. I'm glad Mash allowed me to take the books home from that private collection and read them. Jose Chirammal had a good collection of books but many of them seem to have been lost. The friends and disciples of those two are very fond of books and libraries.
Our rural reading rooms have played a major role in differentiating Kerala from other states. While the remnants of them were closed during the Corona era, none of us should forget their role in enhancing the immunity of the Malayalees.