Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Read along!

girl with book
Photo by Tom

No matter how well I have slept, which is rare, when you have a toddler who is only learning to sleep through the night; I am always so stiff and groggy in the mornings. I cannot help but envy my friends who very nimbly and quickly get out of bed as soon as the alarm clock goes off and are about their day. (They need no caffeine, no nothing!). But not me. I cannot function unless I down that hot cup of kappi and spend at least 5 minutes reading. I even refuse to stretch until this ritual is over. Of course, I have to make some exceptions when other domestic issues become a priority- like waking up late or a hungry baby wailing away! 

It need not be the News. Just something that is well written. In the mornings, when I am pressed for time, it’s usually the Hindu Metro plus or the editorial pages that I rush too. The words wake me up, shake me up and jump all over me, tickling me, reminding me why I love to read. Words that stay with me the whole day, words that play on my mind and the ones that make me feel alive. Words that inspire me to imagine, to describe, to scribble away. 

My niece, a certified book-worm has read some of her books more than 15 times. I get that. Some lines just have to be read over and over and in between and memorized. Like the famous "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." (Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice).
I am in awe every time I read something that describes emotions and feelings. I mean, gifted writers can with simple words and metaphors express such complex feeling, emotions and thoughts. It is like they were reading your mind. They said it just like you would have, if you could have said it the way they did. Or so you would like to think. 

That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” (Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Namesake’). Very true, right? For those not fortunate enough to travel and see things firsthand, there are gifted writers who through their words nudge you to climb up on to the open windowsill, sprout wings and dare you to fly. Fly over the roof tops and into the sky; around the world and even to another space and time.

Recently, there was a picture perfect moment in our bedroom. Pin-drop silence as father, mother and child were immersed completely in their own literatures. Father scanning his ‘gadget reviews’, mother making mental notes on a delicious recipe in a magazine and child smiling at the five little monkeys jumping on their bed’. I love our reading time! 

As I write this post, I am thinking mostly about the feel good factor 'reading' provides. But everyone, I  am sure, knows reading has its own benefits. From improving your vocabulary and critical thinking to learning about other cultures, traditions, histories, it stretches your mind and can even help to bust stress. I remember laughing out loud reading P.G.Wodehouse. It felt very good.

Not everyone can be a Paulo Cohelo. But let’s be glad there is one! Someone has to write a book like the ‘Alchemist’ so beautifully to tap you on your shoulder and remind you that “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 

I want to dedicate this post to writers who make magic with words. And the readers like me who thrive on this magic carpet ride- learning, living and loving life.

Happy reading!  

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