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Mumbai Diary

Discovering Mumbai is a bit like eating an artichoke. It takes a lot of trial and error, chopping and scraping to find the scrumptious bits.

Mumbai Diary
Mumbai Diary
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The New Savages

You are what you eat. So say those stern diet dictators out there. Equally though, you are what you read. This is something I realise every Friday morning as I sit amidst a bewilderment of books, cartons and orange labels. A friend and I have undertaken the daunting task of “updating” a 50-year-old school library—weeding out volumes that nobody has checked out for decades and replacing them with contemporary books that will induce children to read. So every Friday we don our spectacles and wonder whether even the most book-loving 14-year-old in Mumbai is likely to pick up a novel about the long walk of the Navajo Indians (last borrowed in 1983) or the memoirs of an Alaskan trapper (borrowed once) or the story of an iron frigate (never borrowed, and little wonder). As the pile of discards grows, so does our insight into the changing nature of childhood—for it seems obvious that a child raised on gentle stories about water voles and Freddie the Pig will be quite different from one who snarfs up the Inheritance series with its beheadings and impaled babies. (Yes, indeed. This seems to be the standard reading fare for 11-year-olds these days.)

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