I want to talk today about how reading can change our life by killing the demons inside us. How reading can bring us closer to others, and more to ourselves. And how the act of reading lets us see the person that lives inside us. Now, as today I am praising the action so much, let me take you a step back and find out when and how I, myself have begun reading. Well, I’ve begun reading when I was in my kindergarten and for the next fifteen years, continued to read or rather mug my books up, all filled with printed words that I had to paste on my test papers.
But the stage when I took up reading as a part of recreation was in 2018, after having a terrible breakup. Seemingly, at that phase, I was drowned in grief. I was terrified, lonely, inconsolable and cursing myself day and night for my portion of the mistakes in that broken relationship. Thereupon, my friend, and the only friend that I had then, introduced me to reading books. “Ugh! what a nerdy suggestion given to a young girl who is already feeling so lonely. She should have told me to go out, have fun, attend some parties and check out cute guys instead”, I thought. She kept on telling the same thing for the rest of the month and then stopped.
After that, she has never asked me to read. But often in our conversations, she had mentioned about books that she had been reading at that point of time and the ones that she wanted to read. At times, when we conversed over a video call, she has often even shown me some of her books. Though I had never paid much attention to what she said about them, what I did notice was the appearances of the cover. Later, when I saw my favourite YouTuber, putting social media posts with the similar books and even reviewing some of them on her channel, MostlySane. I suddenly lusted over having them. No, not for reading. I thought it would be a cool idea to post pictures with trendy books on my social media wall, just as Prajakta Koli does.
Soon I purchased the books reviewed by her and a couple of other bestsellers. I literally, clicked around twenty photographs with each one of the books and kept the best ones to later edit and post. In the meantime, the breakup blues again loomed on me, as they often did, I felt miserable and lonely. Thus, to do away with the blues I picked up Ravinder Singh’s ‘I Too Had A Love Story’. The sole purpose of reading the book was to divert my mind and to shut it up as soon as the purpose gets served. But hey! no longer than I started reading it, I realised that I was on page – 50. That was the first time I confronted the hypnotizing power of a well-written book. After completing the book I felt so relieved to realise that the one whom I love, may not be with me any more, but at least he is alive, and living a healthy and happy life with his newfound love.
I found it foolish and dropped the idea of posting photographs with books that I haven’t read. Later, I have engulfed several books and each one of them have taught me lessons that have forged and are still forging my life. Can Love Happen Twice written by the same author taught me that it’s ok to fall in love again. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami taught me to stive without keeping much expectation from life. It has also taught me that nothing can heal the loss of a beloved. No truth, no sincerity, no strength, no kindness can heal that sorrow. All we can do is to live through the sorrow and learn something new from it. Norwegian Wood soon made a place in the list of my most favourite books.
My Gita by Devdutt Pattnaik, of course, taught me a bundle of lessons, one of which is that truth has many ‘bhaags’ or parts. We, humans, possess the mind that can decipher only one part of it. The one who can decipher all the parts of a truth is called the ‘Bhaaga-wan’ or God. Thus, we have no right of judging the people around us without knowing all the parts of a truth about them. Jaya by the same author, have made me realize that patience has much deeper roots than I had thought and that having a dream shattered really is nothing compared to what many others have suffered. I have come to believe that coming true is not the only purpose of a dream. Its most important purpose is to get us in touch with where dreams come from, where passion comes from, where happiness comes from. The Zahir by Paulo Coelho has taught me that when someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.
Books have given me a magic portal to connect with people of the past and the present. Thus, reading charges my sanity and spirit with mystery, imagination and beauty. Reading gives me images of joy that I can’t get in reality. Reading taught me my own courage. Reading is a form of thinking. That’s why it was initially difficult for me and maybe for most of us to read because we have to think. But I chose to think, rather than to not think and the same is recommended to you. Reading inspired me to want to write. The link between reading and writing is so powerful. When I began to read, I began to find the words to express myself and to justify myself.
So today, take a small step towards reading, for a better tomorrow. May books be always with you!