September is Dad’s birthday month, which explains why I’m working on a mini-status project over at (my personal) Facebook, to family and close friends: posting something – anything – about Dad, once a day, until his birthday. That’s 27 Dad-related daily entries. Already I’m late in posting my third one ha I’m terrible with these daily commitments, but I just wrote this out – though I had it in mind all day – and thought this in particular, is worth sharing here. Here you go:
Came across this paragraph while reading Murakami‘s latest and it reminded me of a particular memory from childhood with Dad. For a long time throughout childhood, once a month, usually on a Friday, Dad would take us on an adventure: we’d board the train to the Petronas twin towers, home to plenty offices and a fun shopping mall, to spend an afternoon in the largest (only, I believe) Kinokuniya bookstore in Malaysia.
The rule was simple: we could spend however long we wanted – usually 2 to 3 hours – rummaging through any books we fancy and at the end of our visit, we were, each of us, allowed one book for purchase.
Kinokuniya, even then, was usually the go-to bookstore for advanced and limited releases of international books. This was where I picked up (the horror) the Gossip Girl series before it became (the horror) a nationwide sensation; discovered English translated novels by Japanese authors other than Murakami (though my personal fave is still distinctively Haruki Murakami); first came across John Green before he (surprisingly) became a young adult sensation that he is today… you get the idea. These visits were my first portal, access to the greater world – worlds beyond my four-walls, home ground, country borders… It’s not an exaggeration to say that growing up, I read plenty, just about everything (contemporary) – not all were worthwhile reads – and this hobby-turned-habit taught me, truly and deeply, about the magic that lies in written words; how effortlessly stories come alive in these portable, unsuspecting three-dimensional rectangles. Dad was never without them and soon, so were the rest of us.
Growing up with a father who not only loved but also lived the adventures found between folded pages, I learned at my earliest – perhaps before this truth was even fully encapsulated in my young mind – what true wonderland is: bookstores. The secrets they contain are infinite, depending on the beholder.
In that space, the hero lives a thousand lives; that’s Dad.