My tryst with reading and unparalleled dependence on books began from a tender age when my father started bringing Enid Blyton’s Noddy books for me after work, followed soon by those of Roald Dahl, Ruskin Bond, P. G Wodehouse and finally J. K. Rowling. They gave me what nothing else could: a sense of belonging and a secret road map leading to a treasure that was waiting to be discovered. It opened a brand new world of adventures, possibilities and scopes where the linearity and monotony of actions refused to exist.
I read extensively after schoolwork and dinner quickly developing the habit of finding myself without sleep on nights when I had no books to read. Surrounded by a family of avid readers, I soon realised the importance of reading in maintaining a healthy mind as well as a healthy conversation. Having walked into the entirely magical and yet realistically naked alley of books, I found one of the most essential and otherwise closeted gifts of reading; that of finding a haven, a safe, sunny spot assisting you to survive in a world of difficulty, bias and intolerance.
Generally, I never really thought there would come a day when books would face serious competition in terms of convenience. Like, for real. So in this context ladies and gentlemen,let us present to you the new, friendly and completely portable : the Kindle. It is an ebook reader where you can buy or download pdf versions of a book from the internet and store them, forming a kind of a virtual library. I got my basic Kindle a few years back, as a present from my brother when it first released. I was intrigued to say the least, but pretty willing to see how it worked. I am an orthodox when it comes to the practise of reading and I was quite on board to bash it. But to my surprise I saw that the Kindle honestly fulfilled its primary job: that of assistance directed towards reading.
The basic Kindle did not come with a touchscreen and frankly that enhanced my entire experience of reading on it. The screen felt like paper and that was shocking. I gradually found myself carrying it with me at all times. I started realising that it was especially more convenient to carry my Kindle while travelling. I did not have to constantly worry whether my books were getting dog-eared in my luggage or constantly check if I was leaving one of them behind. For a person who is always at the edge of anxiety regarding her books, I soon found myself without worry with the Kindle. And that's when it finally struck me amidst everything that something was most definitely off.
I am protective of my books way more than I should be and that has nothing to do with the person that I am. Books do for me what people hardly ever can: comfort me without a frown or a tailing question. And the comforting is mostly mutual and unsaid. Only answers in the form of the right words.The relationship book lovers share with their books is pretty similar to that between a mother and her child. And that is when I understood what I was giving up for the sake of curbing my personal insecurity. I felt no attachment to the Kindle.
You need to understand that the Kindle is perhaps one of the most life-changing discoveries for me. It is a spectacular device, asking for nothing but frequent charging. It is affordable, portable and will hardly add any additional weight to your handbag or luggage. Having said that, nothing will overwhelm the all encompassing feeling of opening a new book, holding its delicate body by its bind, trailing the words like a perfect explorer. That and the insane sniffing of fresh pages till your allergies finally kick back and you need to run for your medicines.
Books are my security blanket. In this world where hearts are walling up faster than a blink of your eye, books remind me of human fragility and vulnerability. When I pick up an old book, along come the watermarks and an accompanying sense of revisiting a place that let me borrow a piece of itself to help me grow further. Though I still carry the Kindle with me for long vacations (because frankly, the amount of books I can cramp into it is extraordinary), there's always a slice of paper bound heaven in my carry-on luggage.