I cannot remember a time when I did not love books. They have always been with me. Give me stories – any time, any place, any kind – and I am content and happy. In fact, it’s a common joke among my friends, regardless of how long they have known me, that I just want to travel to all the exotic places, so that I can claim that I have read a book there.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Well, I admit that is partly – only partly – true. But it is correct that I am book crazy and book obsessed.
Sometimes, I wonder why’s that? Why do I love books so? Because they are a treasure trove of knowledge? Not really. Knowledge is just the by-product. I know that a lot of people read to improve their grammar English, Hindi etc. Some read so that they can get the right words, phrases and facts to show off. Some read because there’s nothing better to do for passing the time.
My reason is just one: it is my escape mechanism, in the same way movies are for a lot of people.
When I read books, I can be anyone I fancy. I have experiences that I would probably not have in real life. I could be having a midnight party at Malory Towers or solving a mystery with Mr. Holmes. I could be living a fairy tale with my own happy ever after or be in Diagon Alley with Harry Potter.
I can also visualize the scenes very clearly when I read books. It was all very well, until I was introduced to Count Dracula by a certain Mr. Stoker at the age of eleven. It was an abridged version but the minute long walk across the courtyard at dusk with birds returning home sure turned longer. And I learnt to avoid horror novels. So, Stephen King and I still remain strangers. But I ain’t complaining.
When I was younger, I was told that with age I would outgrow certain kinds of books – Enid Blytons, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, Mills & Boons and Grimm Brothers – you get the drift. But surprisingly, I haven’t. I read anything that catches my fancy. And I almost never read to learn. So, the mini-library at home is stocked mostly with fiction – from Shakespeare to Austen to Marquez to Beauty and the Beast to mushy romances to Wodehouse. Even the few non-fiction books that I own and read have had human drama to keep things from becoming too dry (as an aside, do read White Mughals, if you get the chance. It’s one of those rare books that tell you about history as ‘his story’).
I am also told by my married friends (especially those who have kids) that once I get married and have kids, I will not have the luxury of spending the days and nights with my nose buried in a book. Maybe, that is how it would be. But I like to think that that would not be the case.
So, there would always be a room (preferably the largest) designated as the Library in my dream house. It would have floor to ceiling book cases and French windows to let the sun stream in. And a hearth with a golden fire crackling in the evenings. Ah, heaven!
On that note, adieu for now. My escape awaits.