A book is a dream you hold in your hand
The magical world of books opened up for me when I was in Class 3. Before that, I was struggling with making sense of the questions asked by the teacher and trying to find answers in the text. The moment I opened the first page of the book, floodgates opened. I was hooked, line and sinker. It was like unfolding a different world in an erstwhile era, unknown protagonists amid gripping adventure.
What was unfathomable was how the words receded and what emerged was a different reality, totally convincing and absolutely absorbing. “A book is a dream that you hold in your hand,” says author Neir Gaiman. That’s what happened every time I read a book.
Books for me have been my stoic friend all through the years. The only lonely moment for me has been when I’ve been in-between books and as a result would pick up big books of the authors and genres I like. When I read, I usually have a dictionary and a small note paper to mark the extracts I would copy for reference later. I’ve been asked if I ever read what I note down and the answer is, “I do.” I love doing so.
I copy extracts for the language, the expression, things I like and things I don’t. Reading opens the mind and lets us see other possibilities and perspectives. It blurs the lines of good and bad that we grow up believing and enriches the reader with innumerable probabilities. It’s like someone is offering a hand to tide you over hardships. Invariably, I would find answers to life’s conundrums in the written word. I would read by night light, even in the moonlight and often in my study time, I have no qualms now to admitting it.
“Books are a uniquely portable magic,” says author Stephen King, and I carry the magic within easy reach most of the time. With the advent of screens at home and unlimited supply of visual programmes, the time spent on reading by the younger generations is dwindling drastically. It makes me sad.
Some places in the West, I’m told, there is a habit of leaving a book in a public place when you have finished with it to enable the others to partake of the joy. What a beautiful way to convey and convince people of the unwavering delight of reading!
A quote by Ernest Hemingway has stayed with me: “There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
Benefits of reading are many. Mental stimulation, brain exercise, vocabulary increase, memory improvement, enhances imagination, fights depression and wards off loneliness. The most convincing one is, the love of books is all consuming and that is the most rewarding and compelling reason to do so. The choice of authors I read has changed with the passing years and fiction has been replaced with spiritual, travel, biographies, and self-help books. What still remains the same is that books and I are friends forever!
The writer is a Ludhiana-based freelance contributor
Blurb: I would find answers to life’s conundrums in the written word. I would read by night light, even in the moonlight and often in my study time