The Bookmark Chronicles
For book lovers like me, who are too lazy to pressurize their brains in remembering the page number they were last reading and also hates dog-earing pages of a book, bookmarks are an absolute must. I adore people who, after absorbing numerous varied information throughout the day, still happily manage to remember the page number they were at, but unfortunately, I am not one of them.
As school-going kids, when we were allowed to bring home books from the library with strict instructions on how not to handle them (no page folding allowed, no tearing allowed, etc etc.), I would remember the page number where I left reading and start from there. But even then it felt like a burden to remember. At times, I would leave the book open face down so that I didn't have to remember. But that created a mark on the spine of the book if the book was kept face down for a prolonged period.
A matchstick... The first bookmark ..
One day I saw my father using a matchstick as a bookmark and I started doing the same. But the matchstick felt too invisible as a bookmark. After a couple of days, I felt the need to change the bookmark so folded a rough page from a small notepad and started using that as a bookmark. Over the years, such folded rough pages or folded small newspaper cuttings or cut chart paper or cut pieces from thin cardboards or cut empty matchboxes or even hair clips had been my bookmarks during most of my school-going years.
The only books for which I never had to worry about bookmarks were some of the 'Pujabarshikis', the Durga Puja special magazines, which provided register bookmarks (consisting of satin ribbons or chords of string, at times with some advertisement tags attached). But for the past couple of years, many of these Pujabarshikis have stopped providing those bookmarks.
As I grew older, beautiful bookmarks (with quotes or beautiful pictures) purchased from bookstores started adorning the pages of my books. Later, as Flipkart and Amazon launched themselves as online booksellers, they started providing excess bookmarks with every book purchased as advertising propaganda for their brands. And they were successful in their advertising since I started purchasing books from them, instead of bookstores, as these were discounted and came with free bookmarks. I guess many of us have done the same. However, through the years as the brands grew in popularity, they stopped distributing bookmarks.
So, over the recent years, I've used hard garment tags, chocolate box covers cut into the sizes of bookmarks, pencils, pens, phones, folded pamphlets, and reading light clips as bookmarks.
While I was thinking of the various weird bookmarks I've used over the years, my wandering mind starts wondering about what and when were the first bookmarks used. According to this bookstr.com article, handwritten books (called codices) from the 1st century bear the remnants of the earliest bookmarks used. If you are interested in knowing more about the evolution of bookmarks you can refer to the article at bookstr.com.
Presently, I've stopped searching for bookmarks as I'm the proud owner of self-made bookmarks made of felt or cotton fabric, as they provide a confluence of my love for both books and embroidery.. A feeling of guilt still lingers on as to why I haven't thought of making them before!... But then this Chronicle would not exist, would it?... Everything happens in its own time I guess...
Are you a bookmark person or a page dog-earing person? Or are you the one who easily remembers the pages you last read? If you are a bookmark person, what stuff do you use for bookmarks?