Adieu, adieu kind friends adieu…

Originally posted on 15 Dec 2011

I was not born with a silver spoon in the mouth, but I suspect that a book was in my hand as soon as I was strong enough to hold it. Books were my best friends. In my younger days, the train journey stretched over several days, but with a book in had time did not hang heavy on me. Over the years, I have acquired a few thousand works of masters. Carting them from one station to another on military postings has been a problem, but my wife and I were able to brave the burden.

Amongst the tomes I possess, the ones which I have read the most are my dictionaries, thesauruses and the encyclopedias. However, during the last few years, the laptop has replaced the printed paper. My immediate reason for the switch over is the vision problem. I can magnify the electronic words with the click of a button. And then there is the bother of picking up the book from the upper racks in my collection. Some volumes are so heavy that my aging limbs are not able to bear their weight. That apart, there are several other factors: If I wish to obtain a more detailed piece of an associated subject, the e-media permits me to do so through the ‘hyper-link’ facility. The e-books are always illustrated, and each picture tells a thousand words. In many cases, there is a link to audio and even video clips, and that facilitates information transmission. The ‘search engines’ give you the opinions of several learned men simultaneously, for ease of analyses.

During a recent train journey, I noticed that the number of passengers with laptops exceeded those who had books in their hands. Back home, I took stock of my book shelves and discovered that I have not even touched the books which served me for so many decades. Tagore and Ghalib have been my masters, and I owe them a lot. Here on my screen, I can get their works by merely keying in the first few words of their poems.

Where do I go from here? Over the years, we have had to part company with  gramophone records which kindled our spirit. The recorded tapes and cassettes met with the same fate. And now the CDs have become redundant, because all the songs and movies which are of any consequence can be accessed from the Internet. Books are also becoming increasingly available as free downloads.

I hate to say so, but it seems that the day is not far when a room full of printed paper in our house will need unceremonious disposal.

I started writing early in my life. My first full length book was published nearly fifty years ago. It was re-printed but as far as I remember, I received no more than twenty letters in response to my labour of love. It took more than a year for it to reach out to all my friends. And, now whatever is put on the net gets to my friends in a fraction of a second, and their opinions are with me within a couple of days. I do not know what the others are going to do, but if the writing bug bites me again, printed book is not going to be my option. I think time has come for me to bid farewell to my kind friends. With a heavy heart, I have to say, “Adieu, adieu kind friends adieu…I can no longer stay with you!”

My immediate impulse to switch over to the e-medium came from a picture which a friend mailed to me. It is a painting which contains a few dozen historic personages. If you click on the link below, the e-enabled picture will appear on your screen. Click on any face, and you will find that his name will appear. Now click on it, and you will get his complete bio data. Can the printed book reach anywhere near this?

To view the main picture, please click on the following link. On the full picture, if you click on any of the famous persons shown, you can get his name.

I would welcome your views. And if any one needs my books he is welcome to come and help himself…and in the process, help me!!

  1. kulbir singh says:

    If you intend parting with some books, I as present President of Rajeev Vihar Army Housing Welfare Society would welcome to take care of them and open a library for the Society only with the HOPE that some elders will enjoy the collection. NO promises with the younger generation

  2. Kuldeep Malik says:

    I fully agree with you that at some point of time in ones life , one needs to offload such ‘life time’ collections more so when the e-media reigns. I did that when we shifted from Naraina house to Gurgaon in 2004 and I offered these books to DSOI Dhaula Kuan Library and they were happy to accept these.Off course a chosen selection still adores my Study shelves in our house here and I do take out time to look into these some times. I always relish your Urdu couplets.

  3. WAZIR KUMAR says:

    your thoughts are very confusing but i enjoy confusion

  4. Anil Bhalla says:

    Dear Surjit

    Nothing ever has deterred you from doing what you wished for. I cannot believe that weight & volume of your books will fail you to the extent of having to go parting with them. Do confirm that you are not serious.


  5. susheel harchandrai says:

    I just love your emails. Cant express fully in words, how grateful I am to you for keeping me on your valued mailing list. Please keep your good words coming.
    Much Loves and Joy,

  6. PS says:

    if you are serious sir, i’ll take a thousand books to add to my existing 1000.
    say when ?

    however, i worry about my 1000 too. can’t take them to the happy hunting grounds

    even if lucky traders help. [ LUCKY TRADERS, believe it or not has the wood franchise at Punjabi Bagh crematorium in Delhi ]


    Pen was mightier than sword, but the the internet is mighty of them all now.


    You can donate them to Central Library in Sector-17 or Guru Gobind Singh Bhawan/Lajpat Rai Bhawan library in Sector-15.

  9. J Thomas says:

    Yes, indeed. The computer and the internet have changed our lives. Going back, our home town didn’t even have electricity when I was born.

    Times have changed.

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