We generally read and re-read books like there is no tomorrow in our house. By we I mean my mum, sis, daughter, and yours truly. Like Lord of the Rings. Or Wodehouse. Or Ruskin Bond (have recently given these up in light of the fact that they all feel the same. and Rusty is an anachronism. The Blue Umbrella rocks though). Bridget Jones. Growing up, our book collection was not particularly impressive. It was a bunch of hand-me-downs from here and there. Some Yoga books belonging to my uncle. A bunch of old science things that my dad thought should be read by all creatures. Some engineering books belonging to another uncle. A stack of Reader's Digest and National Geographics that were jealously guarded. Complete works of Lewis Carroll (gosh I have forgotten the spelling.. you know, the Alice in Wonderland guy also famous for those word puzzles - Get PIG in the STY in seven steps by changing one letter ONLY at each step). A vaguely Russian sounding book about a boy. Fairy Tales. A Wodehouse I had stolen from someone (forgive me please). In comparison, I have a very good collection now. We bought a nice antique book shelf (and then another one) from Jogeshwari from Iqbal Uncle (who calls me Bhabhi and found a tiny wooden chair for monster child last month). Speaking of the monster, she has a tiny version of my book shelf for her books. I arrange them for her but it still overflows. The fat ones are on the bottom shelf (an obvious household tip I was not told about my mater when I got married; but figured it out when I kept my kanjeevarams bag on a middle shelf in the guest cupboard and the blasted shelf caved in under the weight). The sundry Noddys, Fairy Tales, Pepper, Bubbles, Bruno, Pooh (single story), Panchatantra, Berenstein Bears, Dora, Diego etc. are strewn around the place. The compilations (such as Bubbles 6-in-1; Noddy 10-in-1) are of course fat, and therefore in the bottom. The middle shelf has all the picture books which should soon be on their way out to younger monsters.
In the middle shelf it is therefore that this particular picture book inherited from my niece and nephew lives. It is one of those American books with thick pages with big colourful pictures of kids and toys. It says I love my toys because I can.. Play Them, Bath them (sic), Shake Them, Choose Them, and Lose Them. For each ides there is a different healthy looking child and a different colourful toy. Like a Rattle is Shake Them. A Big Box with a child looking inside is Lose Them. We have read this book umpteen times in the days of yore.
But sometimes the kiddie book stuff stay in your head. With some interpretations. Which brings me, finally to the point of the post. With friends, I often think in my head (based loosely on picture book described above) that if you Use Them, You Lose Them.
As veteran parents of a high maintenance 4.5 year old though, the fact that we have a friend as the house guest has been such a boon. We are totally using him. When I go off for a run early morning on days the husband suddenly finds himself in Chennai. Monster, you are not alone at home. To go to the store to get milk (because the blasted delivery boy came late again and we had closed up the house and left) and the monster wants to pop into crossword. Here, you guys go look at books AND DONT BUY ANY I will go get the milk and come to you. To banish the eat-dinner-alone blues on days the husband works late. Gosh its so wonderful to have an adult to eat dinner with at the table. To banish the drink-beer-alone blues of a Friday night. Its undescribable the pleasure of sharing the brand new Carlsberg beer (nice bottle, not-so-nice beer, though) with an old friend.
Yeah well, really if its a good friend and you both love each other they won't feel they are being used. In which case you won't lose them. Hell yeah.
And, I succumbed and bought her a book anyway so that did not really work either. Unlike my mum who once threw away our moth-eaten Reader's Digest collection and I hve not yet forgiven her for it ten years later, I am less of a Domestic Goddess and more of an idiot who loves the sight, smell, sound, feel, and the permanance of books. And Old friends.