It was Sunday (18th April) morning I was on a call with my friends discussing higher education plans, jobs, and how life is going back on track oblivious of the foreshadowing second wave of the pandemic.
The moment I cut the call, my phone chimes there was a notification from the India Today news app which reads and I quote “Lockdown in Delhi till next Monday”.
Since we have been through the lockdown phase before, I thought it’s going to be fine, but within two days covid-19 cases skyrocketed in Delhi and the situation was undoubtedly alarming.
Whenever I receive a call or text it was either about the demise of my relatives or a plea for medical aids like an oxygen cylinder or ICU bed for the severe covid patient. At this moment restlessness has groped me from my neck.
There were posts all over social media platforms where influencers and my friends were imploring for covid-19 medical aids.
Since I was graduated in 2020 and I took a gap year there wasn’t any loaded assignment to keep my mind off the horrendous situation. By the way, the pressure of being a student who took a gap year is itself a horrendous situation for students in our society.
I became numb and the worst thing happened I started doom scrolling. Day by day I feel like I was in the abyss. Helpless and restless so much so that I stopped doing anything even my internship work had passed the deadline.
One random day of last week of April I was swiping through my Instagram stories and a friend of mine has shared a post of the fancy and astounding picture of a novel posted by Sumaiyyareads (she is a ‘bookstagrammer’) without wasting a second I clicked on the post and for a moment I feel at ease, from her post only I became familiar with other ‘bookstagrammers’ and followed those to whom I share my reading taste.
My bookshelf was in front of my sight and I wondered how come I ignored this piece of literary art all these days. Then I realized that college life and digital media had occupied my mind so much that I forget about my novels.
I have been collecting novels since 6th class but stopped eventually because of the pressure to read more textbooks to gain knowledge.
On the contrary, data shows reading fiction since your childhood can help build up your vocabulary in comparison to the child who doesn’t read fiction.
I noticed one thing that no matter what you are doing once you have started a novel you cannot think about anything but to finish it.
As Joseph Addison said, “Reading is to your mind what exercise is to your body”. While reading it feels like my mind is racing, disconnecting me from other things and making graphics of the events simultaneously.
Strangely I stopped using social media and phone per se so automatically doom scrolling stopped, all because of my novels and their capability to hack my mind through peculiar stories.
Novels and fiction genres per se have so much to offer to a reader and one can know a bit about an author’s perspective on certain things, for example, let’s take Leigh Bardugo, she wrote the majority of her fantasy novels inspired by Russian Folklore.
I recently read Durjoy Dutta’s ‘The boy with a broken heart’ and its sequel, which is a romantic story but the story also focuses on inter-religion marriage, mental health, and caste discrimination in India. This proves that Durjoy not only focuses on romance but the social concept as well. That story keeps me hooked.
While going through a BBC article, I came across a Canadian cognitive psychologist Keith Oatley’s words he calls fiction ‘the mind flight stimulator’. If a child is bored from his or her textbook just give them a fiction novel to stimulate serotonin.
I have been devouring novels since the last week of April. All I know at the moment is that I am at the right place may be the abyss is filled with beautiful stories weaved
by different authors, and a big shoutout to the ‘bookstagrammar’ community, for keeping the reading culture alive and interesting.
It’s been over one month, as per government data covid cases have been declining in Delhi, which is good but still pandemic isn’t over yet all I can think right now is that read as much fiction as you can because it’s perfect escapism from the pandemic encapsulated abyss.