An early edition of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield
Adarsh Ranjan prefers to use his imagination and the power of words than computer graphics to entertain himself.
The Class XI student of DAV Public School said: “Most of my classmates are addicted to computer games but I don’t like spending time with my eyeballs stuck to the computer screen. I would rather read books.”
In a world overwhelmed by social networking sites, entertaining programmes on TV and virtual reality, Ranjan is surprisingly not alone. Teachers and parents in Patna are leaving no stone unturned to introduce youths to the wonderful world of books.
“The habit of reading should be nurtured at a tender age,” said Shyamali Chakraborty, teacher of English at St Karen’s High School, SK Puri, adding that reading books was compulsory for students in the institute.
She said: “We have devoted a library period per week for every class.”
The school also observes a reading day on November 25, when students take part in competitions on books.
“Publishers and booksellers also organise exhibitions and students are encouraged to buy books,” said Chakraborty.
Like mentors, parents are also making an extra effort to introduce their wards to a scholastic climate at home.
“I encourage my daughter to read different kinds of books. I believe if one reads different genres — fiction, mythology, history and science — it enhances one’s ability to comprehend different subjects,” said Vinod Shankar, a resident of Shastri Nagar.
His daughter, Jigyasha, said: “I spend much of my free time reading books. The more I read, the better my imagination and writing skills become. Books are my best companions.”
Asked who her favourite author is, the Class VIII student of Mount Carmel School promptly said: “Charles Dickens. I have read most of the novels, including A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist, written by him.”
Closely competing with Dickens for a place in Jigyasha’s heart are the adventure stories of Famous Five and Secret Seven written by Enid Blyton. Going on boat ride to Kirrin Island or solving mysteries with Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Tim can still be some of the most pleasurable experiences of childhood.
English books are not the only ones on the reading list of students. Vernacular texts also entertain them equally.
“I love reading a number of Hindi books as well. Panchatantra, Champak, stories of Akbar and Birbal — I have read all of them,” said Aditya Ray, a Class II student of Don Bosco Academy.
While most books lovers cringe at the thought of cinematic adaptations of their favourite texts, some youths in Patna love films made on the Harry Potter series.
“I love the Harry Potter books and films. Both the texts by JK Rowling and the films starring Daniel Radcliffe are my favourites,” said Apoorv Sharan, a Class X student of St Karen’s High School.