Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The Prodigal Reader...

Yours truly has been an avid reader for as long as he can remember.

Well, that’s what happens when one receives books for birthdays, books for Christmas, books for Diwali, books for Eid and more books in the vacations.  So basically, my people hadn't heard of video-games, movies, cricket bats and keyboards. No, books were the objects that I was surrounded with and every morning, I had to be dug out from under the books that had overflowed off my shelf and table, thereby coming to rest on my bed.

Apart from books that I received as gifts, I also got hand-me-downs from my older cousins. In fact, some of these books were so old that they had been passed down from previous generations. I also got bought books in book fairs and from salesmen and government office sales. I still remember the time when I entered a Crossword shop for the first time. Yes, exactly. I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven. That day, my cousin bought me my first set of English Classics. It was the day I decided to graduate in English Literature (and I did).

But lately, there seemed to be a disconnect from books, I know not why. Living way from my books and multiplication of workload had driven me far from being able to read anything worthwhile. It so happened that my wish list of books started growing much faster than I could obtain and read them. My ledger was showing red for the first time. Of course, I had books stored in my computer, a lot of them. I still do, but I just do not enjoy reading them in soft copies, whatever their merits. Till I get the feel of a book in my hands, smell the musty pages, straighten the dog-eared pages and use a book mark, I cannot bring myself to read anything. Is that weird? Is it?

Well, the point is that now I've come back home for my semester break, I've reclaimed the library card that my mother was putting to good use. I've also cleaned my book shelf and taken an inventory of all the books I have and want (by the way, I collect books).

Reunited with my books, I've even abandoned my laptop and television. And as I select the book I’m going to read today, I say, “Long time, no see.”

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