With television, video, cable, Star TV, I find that unfortunately a lot of our young generation have forgotten the pleasure of reading. So I was telling my two sons, Darryl and Derek: "Instead of watching all this nonsense on TV, why don't you read sometimes?"
Darryl, my elder son, looked up from the programme he was watching an asked: "What is read?"
"Read," I said, "you know, read. Like books and things, you read them, going from page to page, while your mother keeps shouting that dinner is getting cold."
"Why should dinner get could if you read?" Derek, my younger son, who has a habit of getting straight to the point, asked.
"Never mind about dinner, that I just my way of putting it," I said. "But you know what it is to read. Why am I wasting my time explaining it to you! It is what you do in school. You do read in school, don't you?"
Only in the reading class, the Hindi reading class," Darryl said. "Otherwise, the teachers puts on Countrywide Classroom on TV or shows us educational videos."
"What! I have never heard of such a thing," I said. "Why am I paying all these fancy school fees, plus building fund donation, plus Lala's tour, if all they are going to do is show you Doordarshan programmes."
If they do not show us TV, how will we learn anything," Derek said. "The teachers at the school say that it is the greatest education media so far invented by mankind. In fact, next month you will get a circular from the school to make a monthly contribution to buy cassettes for the school library."
"Catch me giving them money to buy cassettes," I said. "And don't look at me like that. I am not being mean, I would give them money any time to buy books for the library, but not cassettes."
"If you don't buy cassettes and we do not watch video, how can we study and pass our exams," Darryl said. "You want us to grow up to be a burden to you!"
"If I don't change your school and send you somewhere where they still value teaching from books, you will be a burder," I said. "I though only at home you wasted your time stuck to the TV set, but now I find that at school also you are doing the same thing and the teachers are encouraging you to. I want you to start reading from today."
"Tell us, how exactly do we stand to gain by reading?" Derek asked.
"Well," I said, "well, let me see. Yes, for one thing, if you don't read, you will never be able to write a book."
"But who wants to write a book if nobody is going to read it," Darryl said.