This was a few days back, when I was into one of my overzealous mode, talking about my first love, words tumbling one after another so as to convince my listener as quickly and as convincingly as possible about the hypnotizing, soothing effect my lover…or rather, lovers have on me. As I am growing older, I find myself with more than one; I guess I am kind of promiscuous where my love is concerned.
And before this piece starts bordering on erotic, it is time I clarify that my first and everlasting love has always been BOOKS. And these days, I usually combine different genres while reading; it makes reading more spicy. For example, I am currently reading Ravi Subramanium’s God is a Gamer that talks about high-profile financial fraud. Along with this book, I am also reading H. Kern’s Sadhharma Pundarika, that talks about the The Lotus Sutra, a summary of the last lectures of Gautama Buddha.
It is intriguing to delve into a mix of reads that bring some sense of conflict to the reader’s mind. Reading about different ideologies and subjects at same point of time challenges my mind, and gives me a fresh perspective.
My love affair with books started at a young age. My first crush was Howard Roark from The Fountainhead, but then John Galt from Atlas Shrugged took his place. For a long time, I was in love with Robert Kincaid from The bridges of Madison County, a photographer who wooed his woman with the poetry of John Keats. A few years back, I had the chance to get into the mind of Bertrand Russell with whom I had a love-hate relationship; I kind of hated his snobbish attitude towards Indians, though I loved his philosophical arguments. As I matured over the years, my old love Narendra, famously known as Swami Vivekananda surfaced back with full bloom. Almost at the same time, I happened to meet Dr. Radhakrishnan in his An Idealist View of Life, and I fell in love with him too.
You must be wondering, if I ever fell in love with a woman! The answer is YES and NO! I was, and still in love with Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged, who had the grit and determination to follow her ideals even when the entire world stood against her. It is a different kind of love, a love that is on a different wavelength from romance…it is a love of appreciation, a feeling of bonhomie. While I am writing this, I get a new idea of writing a blog post on different types of love we harbour in our lifetime and how they affect us. As for now, let’s stick to books.
People often ask me that what is there in a book that I make it sound so revered? First of all, it doesn’t cease to amaze me how a mere group of 26 alphabets can produce millions of books. Isn’t that marvellous! I have always considered BOOKS as the spine of any society. If the spine is strong, the society stays strong; if the spine is weak, the society crumbles.
We need to evolve into-
A society that READS
A society that THINKS
A society that dreams out of BOOKS
A society that gets inspired with WORDS.
A book kindles your heart with empathy when you read about the emotions and experiences of others. It connects with millions of people, both past and present. Someone has aptly mentioned that reading great books is like having a personal conversation with the finer people of the past. Books offer you different cultures and traditions right into your palm. They act as mentors, helping you understand and embrace different views, teaching you that it is fine to have views and beliefs different from others. Books guide you to agree to disagree, a quality that is much-needed in the world of today. They enlighten you about tolerance and help you widen your perspective. Books give you solace in their soothing stories, give you dreams to work upon.
I always tell children around me that a book is your magical ticket to places unexplored; it’s like a virtual Aladdin’s carpet. Books are simply magic. Please pass on this magic to the younger generation; please start reading with your children from the time you carry them in your womb.
Today, whatever I am, whatever I have achieved is because of BOOKS!
I read, therefore I am.
I think, therefore I evolve.
People these days wonder that with Kindle here, will books go out of fashion?
Well, will the escalators make the stairs go out fashion? Never. It’s the same with books. A book lover will still love the feel of paper in her hand and the musty smell between the pages of the book. Recently, I was approached by an NGO, Together We Walk- ME & You, to voice my views on books versus kindle.
Together we Walk- ME and You, an initiative by Manisha A. Jhamb and Meena Bhatia, represents the two most influential segments of our society i.e Women and Youth, who have the potential to make a positive change in society. It is their vision to empower and connect these two energies so as to build a strong and well-functioning society. Wishing them all the best for their social initiatives.