Every book read is an experience , and the hangover lasts for a few days till another book is picked up.
Sometimes reaching the last page of the book gives me a sense of loss, a feeling of saying goodbye to a dear friend and then being in denial.
Earlier I could and would read a book start to finish in three hours flat. The suspense of a Sheldon, the flow of Archer, the action sequences of Ludlum, the humour of Kushwant Singh ,the Romances of a Jackie Collin would make me breeze through , with increased heart beats , sweat trickling down the sides , tears running down or even hair raising at many points.
Such was the depth of my concentration that I would be oblivious to my surroundings, my mom’s scoldings, the loud Television ,the noisy bus stop ambience, in classrooms during the boring lectures and often novels read hidden in my huge zoology textbook at home.
My dad would come from behind peep and then go back to another room and call out, “Hasee read loudly I can’t hear you”, and that is how my dad tackled the menace of my reading novels instead of textbooks. During my study hours reading aloud became the norm, otherwise it would be suspicion time.
At whatever point of time, the book I read would be at my side, on the dinning table, on my bedside, in my hand while boarding the bus to college and even on the kitchen shelf when I was forced to help mom.A serious confession being that
sometimes it would even find its way into the bathroom, to escape my mom’s insistent instructions to have a bath.
As the years passed by, the craze remained but the speed and method of reading changed drastically.
I began to maintain diaries to write down sentences and paragraphs which I loved, my focus slowly included the contents as well as the craft of writing. This also gave me a chance to re read all the wonderful stuff I had collected over the years from time to time and which gave me intense pleasure. My diaries were my greatest treasures.
On the downside I was so much addicted to reading novels, that there was a proportionate neglect of studies, which I found extremely boring. As a result I have never risen above the status of being an average student all my life.
The period during which I had to seriously focus on studies and score were spent in escaping to a different world a more attractive illusionary world. A direct consequence of all this made my dad take a middle path and choose the teaching profession for me, which of course needed no academic excellence.
On the upside however, reading helped me to tide over the greatest crises I have faced in my life. The books were an insulatory world into which I escaped from the real world.
Once during one of my vacations I was reading “Kane and Abel”, and I was asked to get ready to “see” a boy. I did it mechanically, my whole mind was trapped in the elaborate lives of the two protagonists, and all I wanted to do was to get back to my reading. This helped me in a way to cope with the rejections of grooms, the body shaming which I had to face and a whole lot of other issues at a very sensitive stage in a girl’s life.
Reading has always stood me in good stead but sometimes in a moment of weakness when I compare my status to those of my peers who are all in high places of achievements, I do feel if I had read the textbooks in place of all those novels maybe I too would have made my parents proud, maybe I too would have been a CEO or something, maybe all I did was loose my untapped potential in the midst of the thousands of books.
That’s why the question….
Is reading a boon or a bane?
The answer lies in reading what….
Novels or Texts ?
And that makes all the difference I guess…..