I have never been a bookworm. All my life, I heard my parents forcing me to read, simply because it’s supposedly what a good child should do. The fact that they’d use “Sharmaji Ka Beta’s” healthy reading habits as a “driving” force would just upset me further.
Being an active child, reading wasn’t something I enjoyed as leisure. I prefered indulging myself in physical activities like swimming, dancing or horse-riding. I strongly believe that parental and societal pressure was a major contributing factor to my negative attitude towards books. I despised the competitive atmosphere books brought and vividly recollect my friends arguing about who has read the most books and, that too, of great variety. It was probably those times that I decided on reading not being my forte.
I had friends who volunteered to pick a book up and spend hours “lost” in it, as they’d describe it. I always failed to fathom such acts and considered these people to be mad. I linked books to studying which was surely not something I would choose to do when I could shout out to all my friends and play a fun match of cricket or badminton. Little did I know that my stance in the future was going to prove to be a shock to myself.
A few years later, I had to move classes due to certain circumstances. I was shattered. The social butterfly within me would never survive the isolation of being pulled apart from my friends. I cried and moaned for days. My horrible sight upset my little-too-practical father. He scolded me and gave me some life-changing advice, “Stop cribbing at once!” he scolded. “Never consider yourself to be lonely. Books. Make books your best friends,” he continued. On hearing his words, I cringed and waved it off by rolling my eyes.
Considering how helpless I was, I nervously began my first day in my new class clutching on to a book. My father was right. The first few weeks, I didn’t speak to anyone because I was scared. However, I don’t recollect any instance where I was bored. It didn’t matter to me if someone was talking to me or if someone was looking at me. My book and I were all that mattered. I was entertained throughout, without a doubt.
Thus, began my journey with books. Those months of seclusion allowed me to appreciate those pages that make a book. It enabled me to appreciate the beauty of literature and allowed me to grow as a person who could now empathise with those who sought refuge in books.
It has been years since that incident, but I have not let go of books. I have come to love books. I enjoy allowing myself to be introduced to different characters and be transformed into a different dimension, a different story.