Vedashree Khambete Sharma
Be a frood. Grab a Towel.
Years ago, I found myself in a family friend’s house in Faridabad, sweltering in the Delhi heat and bored out of my skull. Thankfully, the children of said family friend were a few years older than me and had a nice little collection of books, all littered around the room, almost as if the wall with the built-in bookcase was overflowing on to the floor.
At random, I picked one from the bookcase. It had a royal blue cover and apparently was a set of four books bound in one volume. I did my usual back cover scan and finding the contents intriguing, proceeded to read it.
An hour later, there was a power failure. But my mind, was alight with what I was reading. A world had opened up inside it. A world outside of Earth, with starships and galaxies and neurotic aliens and robots in urgent need of Prozac. I had never read anything like it. I had never thought about anything like it. It was like someone had reached inside my head and flipped the switch marked Extreme Psychedelic Imagination – DO NOT TOUCH.
I continued reading, by the light of a gigantic candle.
We were returning to Bombay the same night so I couldn’t finish even half of the first book. But I never forgot it. Months later, when I had finally saved enough pocket money, I trudged to the street book vendors at Churchgate and bought my very own copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s had a place of honour in my bookcase ever since.
So, today, on World Towel Day, where Hitchhiker’s fans around the world pay tribute to the genius who wrote that masterpiece, I’m going to give you a piece of advice. If you haven’t already, pick up Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He blows up the Earth in chapter three and things only get better from there.
PS: Don’t go by the movie. The movie is to the book what boiled sugar sweets are to rich dark Swiss truffles. What Rakhi Sawant is to Monica Bellucci. What ‘Tum Toh Thehre Pardesi’ is to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. In other words, incomparable.