In 1960, when I was studying in class X, I had a great teacher of English, Mr. Lionel, who was very particular about our grammar and pronunciation. We had a non-detailed reading book titled “Nicholas Nickleby” by Charles Dickens. He used to tell us that we must go and read the original book of the author to understand him better. With his motivation I went to the Connemara Library, Chennai, a globally renowned library to search for the book and read. That tempted me to read the other originals of Dickens – The Pickwick papers, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and the tale of two cities. When I visited the birthplace of Charles Dickens at Portsmouth, about 20 miles form Southampton during my stay in UK in 1977, I was thrilled and excited to be in the birthplace of a man who did not have a formal schooling, but raised to be a great story teller and novelist of the century; who could touch the hearts of people globally.
Though Charles Dickens suffered initially from dyslexia, subsequently from obsessive possessive disorders, epilepsy, anxiety neurosis and subsequently psychological challenges, he could overpower all of them to create characters which reflected his immediate environment, the self, the members of the family and the social problems. On 7th Feb, his birthday, I am indeed looking forward for some time to revisit his stories.