We were at lunch yesterday and I was pondering on how to extract some money from my mother. I figured the best way to do it was by telling her I wanted to buy a book, pleading for a five hundred rupee note and using the change for various miscellaneous necessities. The minute I thought of a book, Princess Diaries came to mind for some reason. Don't ask me why. Maybe it was because it's Jahnavi's twentieth today and I was feeling nostalgic. I'll always associate Princess Diaries with her. I stopped reading the series ages ago because maturity set in, but for some reason, I really, really wanted to read the last book of the series which came out a year or two ago. For closure, maybe. Plus, I was pretty sure it heralded the return of Michael Moscovitz who was sent to Japan and who is definitely a fictional character I can see myself committing to for the rest of my life.
So, after a long and passionate speech about inflation, I managed to wrangle five hundred bucks from her. I know, believe me, that it's not good literature but people like me, who do read good books, are allowed to turn to mindless chick lit sometimes. You've heard of the unwritten principle about how you can tell a person's character by their books? Well, let me put it like this: if I have mounds and mounds of good poetry and biographies and books by prize winning and critically acclaimed authors, owning a few trashy books means, not that I'm shallow, but that I have a flexible and diverse personality. Or so I told myself during the short walk to Crossword.
Once I got there though, it took me fifteen minutes to gather the nerve to go to the Young Adults Section. There was a fifteen year old girl (complete with fifteen year old boyfriend) hanging about in front of the Meg Cabot shelves, talking (loudly) about how everyone said she resembled Anne Hathaway who plays Mia in the film and how she totally couldn't see the resemblance (Neither could I- she looked like a walking pork pie). I bided my time, lurking in front of the Tolkien section (for anyone who hasn't read The Hobbit: read it). As soon as she moved away, I ran (literally, ran) to the Meg Cabot books, grabbed Ten out of Ten (the tenth and final book of the series and it wasn't hard to miss being very silver and very shiny) and then hurtled down the stairs to the Poetry section. I hid there for twenty minutes until the crowd in front of the cashiers' counter had cleared, before shuffling furtively towards it, the Meg Cabot buried under a pile of war poetry. It was only when I handed the money over and saw the book being put into one of those big carry bags, that I felt safe.
I came home, ignored the Charles Dickens that I'm going to be tested on next week, and read the entire book straight through. I have to admit, it was a pretty great afternoon. Mia was as annoying as ever but Michael's only improved with age and time. It was like being fourteen again.
When I closed it, it felt like the end of an era.