Long ago when I had just started my very first job, one weekend I was just exploring the city on my own. I went to a new market area where I had never gone before and there I saw a simple looking mall with a sign saying that the bookstore has been moved to the basement. Well, no points for guessing where I headed next.
The basement was a huge room maybe the size of many shops combined into one. There were pillars in between but no walls or partitions of any sorts. The entire place had huge metal racks filled with three parallel stacks of books. That meant one could access the first stack of books easily but the remaining two stacks were like hidden treasure available only to true devotees.
I was having the time of my life as I usually do in any bookstore. I was not looking for anything specific and just browsing randomly. The bookshop owner was a little old man who saw me roaming for quite some time. Then he finally asked me if I was searching for some specific book. When I told him that I did not have any particular book in mind he went away. Or so I thought.
He quickly returned with an old-looking book. It was one of those hardcover books with leather-like finish with book’s name embossed in golden ink. It reminded me of the classic’s section in my school’s library. He gave me that book and saying I might like it. I thought it was just another sales pitch. But the book looked interesting. I opened and there were illustrations on a few pages. I guess it was the illustrations that made me decide to but that old looking book – Daddy Long Legs.
I started reading on my way back itself. It wasn’t a big book and I managed to finish reading it the same day. But I feel the impact of that book even after a decade.
The entire book is in the form of letters written by a young girl. She wrote these letters knowing very well that no reply is going to come. But still, her desire to write these letters were not dependent on the promise of any reply. It felt purer. The letters acted became a window to her life. Everything she was going through, everything she was feeling, she would share in those letters.
I could feel her loneliness along with her unshakable confidence through her words. Sometimes I feel like girls who have no one to take care of them grow up to become a woman who really knows how to take care of themselves and others. Lack of support forces one to become self-reliant and self-sufficient.
Daddy Long Legs is the story of a strong woman who is not afraid of doing what she thinks is right.
This book came to my life at a time when I was learning what it is to be a strong and self-reliant woman. When I was transitioning from a young girl to a young woman. Maybe I didn’t understand why exactly I loved the book back then. But now while writing about that book I am beginning to understand how that book impacted me.