What happens when you have to leave your friends and everything that is familiar and move to a new town? Nimalan was bored and disgruntled in his new place. Until a visit to the library!

Nimalan sat on the floor, concentrating on the model globe in his hands. He already knew the capitals of all the countries in the world and liked to show off when visitors came home. But after an hour of patient examination of the fjords of Norway, he looked up and sighed. There is a limit to a young man’s powers of concentration and eight-year-old Nimalan was beginning to get bored.

“In Vellore, it wouldn’t have been like this. I hate this town,” he thought to himself. It was only a few months since Nimalan and his family had moved to the dusty little town of Tuticorin. There he had lived on the campus of a big hospital and there had been many children in the neighbourhood.

Of course, he had a younger sister but she was too young, thought Nimalan.

He replaced the globe on the shelf and rummaged among his toys and books.

Nimalan loved reading and wished people would give him storybooks as presents rather than colouring books and crayons. He had read the books he owned about a gazillion times and, with no friends from whom he could borrow books, he was bored.

Not much to do

He scowled at his mother, who was hurriedly making lunch before setting out to work in her lab. “I can’t think what’s come over you. You used to be such a good boy,” his mother said. This only made him scowl more and he debated whether to pull his sister’s hair if only to make her cry.

“There’s a lending library here,” his mother continued.

Nimalan brightened up. “Can we go?” he asked.

“Okay, be good to your sister and we’ll go this evening,” she said.

Nimalan was on his best behaviour the rest of the day. He even filled the water bottles to keep in the fridge. In the evening, he went with his mother to the library. It was called Harini Lending Library.

The comics and books that lined the little one-room library shelves pleased him so much that he wanted to start reading right away. As his mother was filling out a membership form, he wandered around looking at the books.

A little girl with pigtails watched him from the far end of the reading room. She had just returned Famous Five Run Away Together and was wondering which book to pick next. She was curious about this new boy because she knew most of the children who came to the library.

She decided to go and find out who he was. Nimalan saw her walking toward him. She has a proprietary air about her, he thought.

“Hello,” she said. For a minute, he wondered whether to talk to her. Then, he replied with a “Hi”.

“What are you reading?” she asked.

“Um… I’m new here. So just looking around. Are you a member?”

“Oh yes. Ever since it opened,” she said, as if to establish the fact that she knew the place better. “I’ve loads of books at home too. Do you?”

“Sure, I do,” he said, “And you are welcome to borrow them.”

“Hmm…” said the girl looking nonplussed. She wasn’t the type to lend her books so easily but she didn’t mind borrowing. “My name’s Inimai. What’s yours and which school are you in?” she asked.

Soon they were engrossed in a deep discussion on books. Before leaving, she even promised to show him her collection sometime.

Nimalan borrowed three books with his library card. He was also happy that he’d made a new friend. Perhaps, moving to Tuticorin was not going to be so bad after all.