A book is a friend, a lover, a counsellor, a teacher, my father used to say. Book is home, book is an ocean, it is a journey that you take alone. They have lives, they engulf a world which you go into and it is your time, you and the book and nothing else. It is sometimes an escape, sometimes a party. The silence that spreads within you and around you when you read a book in solitude, takes you quietly to the lives of the characters and sometimes you become those characters and live their stories. If everything is in our mind, this world, people we connect to, then how can experiencing a book be unreal I always wonder. For me the characters of the books I have read are real, people whom I have known and their emotions experienced. Poems become poetry that I have heard the poet recite to me in my mind. A whole new world which is as real as the world we live in.
The books that you read tells you, your story, about the journey that you had. And sometimes I read my favorite chapters or paragraphs again and again, and every time I read it, I remember what I was the last time I read it, and what I have become when I am reading it now. Whatever it is the paradoxical mix of feelings are worth the additions to my mind.
More than anything in this world am knocked over by a book than any alcohol I have ever drunk . The euphoric high I get from reading a book, be it a poetry or a novel, is beyond my senses. I owe it all to my father, who had a little library in our house, which was all named and numbered and indexed. The index told you exactly which part of the shelf a particular book can be found. My father says books helped me open his mind from his childhood misery out of penury. It gave him hopes, it made him believe in revolution, in dreams, words had such profound influence on my father. I have to say that reading has made me observe the world and people in it in a more profound way, perhaps a world I created in my mind through the books I have fed upon.
I see my sister reading to Amelie and it feels like I am back to my childhood again where Ache used to read to us, fairy tales, Esop fables, mickey mouse and Zorro cartoon stories, stories from Misha magazine and many more. My earliest memory of owning a book is the fairy tale Snow white and the seven dwarfs which arrived as a gift and I treasured it for years to come. I was 5 years old and I was proud to own a book. My parents were not that well off that time, but they made sure we had enough books to read. After my age 10 I was allowed to devour my father’s library, his collection, which were personal, some gifted by his friends, his brother and some by my mother. The sky blue shelf with golden handles stood majestic in our house then. The little mites that lived inside the books made me jealous as though I was a possessive lover of our books. But I have to say my sister was far more possessive about the books, and she found it hard to part with her books. Me and my sister had a wonderful time growing up amidst books and an avid reader of a father.