Have you ever felt so involved in a book that you feel an inexplicable sadness when you turn the last page? When you purposely avoid reading the book… just like you distance yourself from a relationship which was beautiful and you know will not last for too long, trying to in a way delay the ending. The feeling of getting encompassed by the world it describes, like sinking into a soft warm bed at the end of the day. Of staying up all night reading, because you don’t want to miss what comes next. If you have, then we are one of a kind. The kind whose idea of a great day is lying in bed with a book, drowning in the page oblivious to the world, breathing slowly, to the pace of an imaginary world. While there are still many of our kind existing, we are alas, a dwindling breed. In our world, imagination rules.
And then there is the other side of the world that leaves nothing to the imagination. Enter flashing lights, loud sounds and watching the drama unfold in dots per inch. The world where subtlety and play of words are defeated by ultra HD images on enormous LED screens. In this alternate reality, we flip channels instead of pages, hundreds of plots running simultaneously, and we surf on the sea of images. The thrill is short-lived, which makes variety essential. It is designed to overstimulate and capture. Sadly many of us these days belong to this reality of abundant images and scarcity of substance.
Flashback to the days of television programs that used to be telecast once a week for two to three hours. It was an event we all waited for, it was nice while it lasted, it would be a topic of discussion for a few hours after, and then we would go back to our books and the world it showcased. I think it was a better world back then.
My childhood memories are shaped by books…I remember crying for Oliver Twist, I remember looking for Moby Dick on our beach Holidays. I remember waiting every birthday for that essential trip to the bookstore, looking at the books stacked from floor to ceiling, my curious eyes gleaming with possibilities. Yes, my parents played a big role in my love affair with books. I do try to replicate the same with my kids. A book on every birthday. Such a wonderful reminder of the progression of age and wisdom. Gift them a little world they can escape into.
However, now entering a book gets more difficult. The surrender that a book requires of you, gets difficult with passing time and maturity. We now question the logic and content. We also find ourselves short of time. But still, every once in a while comes a book that lets you hold it in your hand, and takes you in. Today, when life demands so much of us, with beeping devices, deadlines, and 24/7 connectivity, the responsibilities of adulthood, with the resilience of youth – reading provides the necessary escape.
It is indeed truly said, ‘reading gives life more life’. A well-read person is a pleasure to be with and will never tire out in a meaningful conversation. Sir Richard Steele rightly said, ‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body’. So let’s not wait. Bring on that BOOK!
Photos from the Internet, sourced from the author
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