I had taken a liking to Reader’s Digest from an early age. The love affair started when I had visited India during my annual school holidays and we had stayed at my grandparent’s home in Cherai, Kochi. My grandpa was a lawyer and was also an avid reader so he had a large collection of books – but mostly Malayalam. So one day I wandered into his little library and looked around for something to read and the only ones in English were the Reader’s Digest magazines dated back to the early seventies.
The books had been untouched for ages and pages were quite brittle and about to fall off so I had to be careful with them. Anyway I was too young to read some of the articles and so I stuck to the one liner jokes that appear at the bottom of the page randomly and also the ‘all in a days work’. I used to sit there for hours going through the jokes and a few articles. My mum noticed that and the next thing she did after getting back to Dubai was fill out an annual subscription form for Readers’ Digest. Mum is an avid reader as well but does not have a collection like what grandpa had.
Over the years ( the eighties and nineties ) the quality of the Readers Digest has fallen of the cliff. I feel that it just lost its charm. It has become more of a medical advertisement magazine than anything else. Less articles, less real life stories and most importantly less quality jokes. They had just killed the magazine with fold in ads and useless offers and marketing materials. Lately after a long gap I bought another copy of the Reader’s Digest and nothing much has changed and sad to say I would not think of buying another copy ever. In those ninety pages there was probably one article that engrossed me and not definitely worth the price and time.
Grandpa passed away a few years back and probably mum has kept his priceless collection of books. The house got sold and my mum brought his arm chair and his cot to our new house and has kept it in one of the rooms just as a remembrance. I am sure it brings back memories for her and it sure does for me too.
I long to go back, sit on his arm chair and open up a seventies version of Reader’s Digest again :).