Later on when I discovered that he was a historian, even me I developed an inherent interest for the subject. Much of my childhood was spent in the old library that belonged to my grandfather turning up pages from the past civilisations. I would be more comfortable in reading than going out and mixing with other kids of my age. People thought that I was a snobbish child, but that was not so. I simply loved filling my minds with the exploits of Genghis Khan and the tales of Akbar and Birbal rather than whiling my time pursuing games with kids of my age.
This was the reason I believe that I was so close to my grand father. And of course to Bill, my paternal aunt's son. He was a fellow who had a weird sense of imagination and I remember the numerous times we spent in the library discussing topics, which he generally dominated as he was elder to me, and making up amusing tales by ourselves. One thing, though which I admired about Bill was his ability to tell stories. Bill was a fascinating narrator, and how I wished he could tell me stories all day! I enjoyed his company so much that every afternoon after school, I made it a habit of joining him in my father's library. Bill was a research student then and used to come to our quiet house to collect materials for his study on Indology. Interestingly, I never thought him to be so elder to me, I always thought that Bill and myself were of the same age (!!!) This was partly because, now that I think of it, Bill was one of those rare people who had so much to share, so much to tell for me gulp it down my system forever.
I did not have many friends in school. The only ones I did have were ones who wanted my notes. In a way, the situation helped me, for it saved me the trouble of trying to be nice to them. My parents, however, more than made up for my lack of friends. They were always there to help me whenever I needed anything. True, I was a bit indifferent to my brother David, but I guess we shared a relation that was based on a queer element of brotherly love and affection which lay not so much as in sharing as in doing things together. I remember the number of times we ate our lunch together in school, never bothering to share nor wanting to even peep into the other's lunch boxes! And yet, we did not lunch without each other.
My academic record in school was brilliant to say the least. I think that was because partly because of the fact that I spent most of my time in the library, when others were busy with their first crushes or their first dating mishaps. True, there were times when I wished to have a fabulous time at a prom, but I guess my childhood liking for books made me much more far-fetched than my other peers. Truly speaking, I hardly met a person of my age who could talk sense. All they were bothered about: sex, love and dating: were things I did not pay much attention to. I may sound like a geek but I guess I lived in a world where my dispositions were affected by the courtesies of Desdemona's and the ethical problems of Hamlet's than what most people my age were bothered about.
But, beneath this aloofness lay a self that wanted to be explored. A self that wanted company, understanding empathy. It was during this time that I met one of my best friends, a Chinese girl called Ji. People say that love happens at