Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The joy of potted meat

Now just before all the vegetarians and vegans out there decide to spear me with their pitchforks or throw rotten tomatoes at me, let me just tell you that this is not a ‘Go non-veg’ post. I’m merely commenting about a phrase that took me back many, many years to Kirrin Island and the famous five and the secret seven and midnight snacks. You know that I’m talking about Enid Blyton books of course.
It’s no longer cool to be a Blyton fan I hear. I’ve been told to place my fat volume detailing the adventures of Mr. Pink Whistle hidden behind the fatter volume of a certain wizard boy and his tryst with the Deathly Hallows.
How can you have her on your favourite author list? She was anti-feminist. Remember girls being left behind on adventures? She was racist. Remember golliwogs?
Well my personal points of view are anyone who could come up with a character like ‘George’ in 1942 could not have been all that anti-woman. Plus as for the racism charge, it was like many would say, a function of the times. Not to condone the ‘golliwogs being bad’ in any way, but Lord of the Rings which was written around the same time, is all white against black too. And while Blyton’s books were edited, the Peter Jackson saga did not make any attempt to do the same.
But then you may dismiss my arguments as those of a thoroughly biased fan. And you will be right.
Though I digress. The point of the post was to talk about a collective childhood that we seem to have shared. By we I mean, those of us who used to read Blyton and Dahl as kids. And run into each other as strangers at youth festivals and school meets and walk away friends because even though we were so different and were ‘Northies’ and ‘Madrasis’ and ‘Bongs’ and ‘Anglos’ we all loved St. Clares and wished we could solve mysteries like the Secret Seven. As we grew up we bonded over Harry Potter and wished we had friends like Ron and Hermione. Last week I bonded with a complete stranger from Nepal, over twitter over the love of potted meat and how we had first read about it in a Blyton book.
Today, when I read about Pratham books touching the hearts of Cambodian children, I can just see the grown-ups of tomorrow and from everywhere bonding about the animals from ‘We are animals’ and about ‘Ritu’s letter that got longer’ on some social networking site somewhere.
So here’s to the joy of potted meat and the joy of children’s books.
The common denominator.
Image Source : www.kirfindia.org/ news/index.shtml

Shweta Ganesh Kumar is a journalist turned NGO activist turned Writer/Blogger/Author who finds bliss in traveling to places known and unknown! She blogs about life, travels and food here , here and here

And can be followed on twitter here

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