Memories of Enid Blyton

I grew up reading Enid Blyton. A significant part of my vacations was usually spent lying on my bed with a novel in my hand, sunlight falling on the pages from behind my shoulder. Even during school days, I’d quickly finish my homework and read as much as I could before the lights were turned off. I’d sometimes try and read through dinner and get scolded coz my food just lay there ignored. When I’m reading a novel, it becomes a real test of will-power for me to leave it halfway. For even a minute. The habit started during those Enid Blyton days and still continues. Which is why when I know that I’ve got something important to do, I stay far away from books.

I think my first Enid Blyton was one from the Secret series. I found it at Nani’s place in Lucknow in one of her green metal trunks. It was a realy old copy, pages hung out half ripped and even the front cover and first 2 chapters were missing. I had never read a novel before that, only sticking to comics, and this one seemed like a big step forward. I carried it around with me the whole day, reading a page here and there, wondering if I should give it a shot. One page, then another, soon it was a chapter and then one more. I couldn’t stop! By the end of the next day, I had read through the whole book. I carried it back with me to Allahabad and when we headed back to Lucknow a few months later, I rummaged through that trunk, picked out all the Enid Blytons I could find and piled them on the back seat of our Fiat. That trunk was nothing short of a treasure chest..

It’s strange but I never bought that many Enid Blytons. My two biggest sources were Akshat and Anurag, two friends who seemed to love those novels as much as I did and who had endless stores of Secret Sevens and Famous Fives that I could pile on! Of course, what this also means that I haven’t repeat-read that many of them..

Yes, repeat-reading was an important part of my vacation. Every novel that I had would be reread every vacation. The winter vacations would be particularly enjoyable with images of the Enid Blyton characters going out on picnics in the georgeous English summer. In true British style, even if it had rained in the morning, the story moved on to a sunny evening and the kids would be out with their picnic baskets! Food was always a very important part of Enid Blyton’s novels, those kids had the most delicious sounding spreads in front of them. I had no idea what all those things were, but they just sounded delicious!

Actually, it is this particular aspect that has prompted me to write this post today. Walking through the Christ Church meadows today under a clear sky with the sun on my back, I couldn’t help but feel that this is exactly what Enid Blyton described in her novels. On my way back, I purposefully stopped at one of the shops and ordered a scone with cream and jam. It’s an indulgence that I usually stay away from but today was a day filled with Enid Blyton memories..

Now, if only someone would tell me how to get to Spiggy Holes..

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