Happy Diwali, and a happy New Year to all of you!
You know what my favourite part about the Diwali break is? All the free time! Time to sleep in peace, time to eat in peace, and most importantly, time to read in peace. People some times find it funny that I complain about not having enough time to read when I'm a literature student and it is practically my job to read. I have to tell you though, the joy of reading something not because your professor spoke about it or because your reference books speak about it or because your university prescribed it, but reading it just because you want to, that is a whole different kind of joy. There are probably tons of people all over the world who've written about their love for reading. Me? I'm just adding to that.
Picture this in your head: Its a quiet day, and you've attended to all the 'work' matters and now you have time for yourself. Now I like to fix myself a nice cup of tea, make sure there's good music playing in the room, and I stretch out comfortably on my bed between way too many pillows and a blanket. Planning a hot date? Pretty much. Only that my date is a book. Always.
The idea of losing myself between the pages of a good book is one that never loses its appeal. The reasons are numerous. You see, we have but one life. At least as far as I know, we have just one. So then when something allows you the chance to live a hundred lives, why not take it? Each book lets you become someone else, wear a new skin. In fact, the same book can allow multiple options as well. One day you can be a Greek nymph, the next a warrior lord. The day after, you can be a simple country girl, the same night you can be a prostitute. Once a prince from ancient India, once an animal on a farm. Once a myth, once a number in the universe. Once a small town detective in Kolkata, once a doctor trading his soul for knowledge. The possibilities are, literally, endless.
Books are non-judgmental and unconditional in what they give. Not just an escape from our personal realities, but they provide us with whatever it is that we need in the moment. Be it the sympathy of their words or an idea to make your brain run. My books are for me the best company on a lonely day. If you so desire, they can be a lover's arms, a mother's lap, a father's hand and a friend's shoulder.
One of the things that I crave most for in people's company is someone who makes me think. Ironically, this demand is fulfilled best by a good book- be it poetry, be it a novel or a drama. There are books that make you stand up in arms wanting to scream at the characters and shake them until they see sense (Wuthering Heights; Emily Bronte) and there are some that make you want to hunt down the author and smother them in kisses (Midnight's Children; Salman Rushdie). Then there are books that, when you finish them, leave a stunned abyss in your mind (That Long Silence; Shashi Deshpande) and those which make you question every thing about your understanding of the world that you took for granted (The Pregnant King; Devdutt Pattanaik). Some which enter your blood and never let go (the Harry Potter series, what else?) and some which bring back memories of your earliest years (the Feluda Series, Satyajit Ray). And yet, this list doesn't even begin to be exhaustive of my obsessions.
Can I put in all my thoughts about why reading is the most gorgeous way to spend your time in just one post? Absolutely not. Can I possibly ever stop convincing non-believers to try the magic? No way on God's golden earth.
Trust me, go find a nice book for yourself. Crack it open, gently, and take a whiff of the pages. (Yes, I'm a book sniffer.) Dedicate one afternoon to letting yourself get lost in something so much bigger than you. You will not regret it.