Here I am sitting with my laptop in front of me on a Thursday evening, racking my brains for an answer to the question: who was my favourite author? You see, I am 56 years old, and I have been reading books ever since I was in my 5th grade. So, there is no definite answer to the question. But as a child, the books that gave me immense joy and unlimited pleasure were the ones written by Enid Blyton. I have read several authors after I got past the Enid Blyton stage. The Hardy Boys series, the three investigators’ series and more advanced writers like Robert Ludlum and Desmond Bagley were all in my repertoire. But my love for books written by Enid Blyton was so overwhelming that even now I sometimes curl up with one of her books on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Enid Blyton died in the year 1969 when I was just three years old. I got to know she was no longer alive when I was in my 10th grade. I felt severely disappointed because I had always sworn to myself that the one thing I would do before I died was to meet her at least once in my lifetime. So, the chances of meeting her and spending a day with her were beyond the realms of possibility now. Among the books written by Enid Blyton my favourite were the Five Find Outers series. I continued thinking along these lines when the front doorbell rang shrilly. I stood up, walked across the hall, and opened the front door.
And to my utter amazement, standing at my doorstep was Fatty, the head of the Five Find Outers. There was also a jet-black Scottie who jumped up and down and licked my face all over, as if he had found a long-lost friend. I realised the Dog was Buster. And that was not all. I could see little Bets, Larry, Daisy, and Pip walking in through my gate. I recognised all of them from the illustrations I had seen in the Five Find Outers books I had read and still read sometimes.
I was in awe of all of them and said nervously, ‘Are you the Five Find Outers?’
‘Yes, we are Mr Jayakumar and we have been sent by our creator Enid Blyton to fulfil any wish you may have. Can you tell us what you would like to do?’
‘Can you arrange a picnic for me with Enid Blyton and the lot of you?’
‘Sure, that is easy,’ said Fatty. ‘Please do come with us. We will go to Marlow where you can meet Enid Blyton. We came by car. There is enough space for you in it.’
‘But I thought we are in India.’ I spoke. ‘And there is no place called Marlow nearby.’
‘Sssh, leave all that to us,’ piped in Bets.
I locked the front door and followed the children. Fatty got into the driver’s seat, of the car and I sat next to him. To my delight Buster sat on my lap.
Soon we were off, and Fatty drove steadily for half an hour. In between we stopped to buy some food. We reached a park and I saw a board stuck up on a pole with the legend “Jogger’s Park” written on it. We got out and after Fatty had parked the car, we walked along a path till we came to a clearing where two people were sitting. I could see that one of them was a man and the other a woman. Both stood up as we approached. I recognised the woman as Enid Blyton as soon as I saw her. My joy knew no bounds. She came forward and gave me a warm hug and I gasped ‘Oh, Madam, it is such a pleasure to meet you. I will never forget the way your books shielded me from all the grief I went through as a young boy. I suffered a lot because of the bullying I had to face in the hands of the other children at school. I could get through all those miserable times only because I had your books to read.’
Enid Blyton looked at me and said, ‘I am so happy my books had helped you through difficult times. I always like it when I hear from someone that my books entertained them. That is particularly true in your case because I was able to relieve some of your pain. I know how terrible getting bullied can be. By the way I forgot to introduce you. This is Inspector Jenks.’
I shook hands with the tall and broad-shouldered inspector, and he beamed at me. We sat down, and I spoke to Fatty and asked him, ‘In your mysteries how do you put the clues together and come up with a solution?’
Fatty grinned and said, ‘Ask our creator here.’ He pointed towards Enid.
I looked at Enid and said, ‘I am an aspiring thriller writer and I have written two novellas till now. I would also like to write books for children. Can you tell me how to go about it?’
‘To write children’s books you should look deep into yourself and awaken the child in there. Ask that child what it is that would make him happy? What is it that would be tasteful and thrilling to him?’
‘But I am an adult. How do I find the child inside me?’
‘The fact that you want to write children’s books is enough to tell me that the child inside you is still alive. Keep trying and suddenly you will be talking to your inner child. After all the child is the father of the man. Another thing you ought to understand is the psychology of a child’s mind.’ said Enid Blyton.
I was definitely happy to hear that the child inside me was still alive.
‘How about unpacking our food now?’ Fatty asked. ‘I have a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach and that means I need some nourishment.’
‘Trust fatty to be the first one to remember the food,’ said Enid with a grin.
Soon we were chomping on Egg Sandwiches, Meringues, and Spinach and Lettuce sandwiches. There were Jam Tarts and several other goodies too. We drank Ginger beer to wash it all down. The British cuisine was slightly bland for my tongue that had gotten used to spicy Indian food. But sitting next to Enid Blyton more than made up for it.
I looked at Enid Blyton and wondered if I could ask her the question that had been troubling me since a long time. I finally decided to go ahead. I said, ‘Madam, nowadays lots of people are of the opinion that your books are racist, and they are also editing them to remove bits and pieces of it which they feel are offensive. What is your opinion on that?’
‘I have nothing much to say on that. I say the same thing that I have always said. As far as my books go, I am least bothered about the opinion of any one above twelve years old.’ Enid said.
‘That settles it. Thank you so much for meeting me, Madam. Thanks to all of you. There is just one more thing I would like some help with, Madame. Will you give me some classes on writing Children’s books?’
‘Sure. I am always available. Please do meet me whenever you want,’ said Enid Blyton.
‘Where can I meet you for the classes?’ I had just asked this question when my eyes fluttered opened, and I could hear a shrill beeping noise from my laptop.
I looked at the Monitor. The Google map of England was laid open. And there was a blinking red spot labelled “Marlow, Joggers Park.”
This post is a part of Blogchatter Blog Hop