There is a very special place within all of us where we house the memories from our childhood. We hold those happy days close, treasure the innocence that once was and long to feel that uncontainable drive to live and explore. At one point in our lives or the other, most of us have wished to be a child again, for reasons that we know best.
The thing I truly miss the most about the bygone days? The endless hours I got to spend with my first true love, my Books.
Back then, there was not a worry in the world that my favourite authors could not distract me from. Those were the days when I first learned how to travel across the world and even across time, without leaving the warmth of my bed. I could disappear into characters and live their lives, like in a parallel universe. I would even go ahead and say that reading was my drug, not that I was even aware of the effects of intoxication back then. But everytime I delved into a book, I felt elevated, rising above the world around me. I would be filled with inspiration and courage. My world had endless possibilities and none the constraints. Stories, ideas, characters, emotions, achievements and failures, morals and inventions, they all filled my life with a never before clamour. It was in the settling of this brannigan of thoughts, that I met myself, for the very first time.
But now I look back, and long so dearly, to feel that passion for words again, even if it were to last not any longer than a page out of those first books. That feeling, is now lost under layers and layers of responsibilities, not just towards the family and the society, but towards the development of self. Time has temporarily halted at that place in my life now, where I need to ‘Do What I Have To Do.’ Reading is now clearly a luxury, one that I need to plan and place onto my schedule, based on how productive I have been over the week.
However, even during those few hours of lavishness, the feeling of being with my book, sometimes misses me completely. I have become much more selective over the years, and I choose my books very carefully (for the lack of time, or so I am convinced). And inspite of that, I am often left wondering at the end of chapters,
“I like the book. Why then can I not be a part of it?”
I feel I am much too distracted now to actually believe that Coelho, Roy or Montgomery, could take my problems away, even if it is for a little while. I have not lost faith in them, but I am yet to let them in completely. The years that I spent shutting myself off from the world of words, is now making me pay its price.
So yes, I accept, I do not expect all my ‘selected books’ to carry me in their pages, away to their far off surreality. But I also strongly believe that the ones that are capable of doing so, are waiting for me to find them, take them home and uncover their secrets.
And here is where I should probably make a mention of my affairs.
I talk about those books that initiated my return to the world of reading. They were just a couple of books I picked up randomly over time. Or, as I would like to believe, that were placed on my path, by chance, on purpose. They were the ones that kindled an old flame.
Quite unassuming books with rather boring covers, that I began reading for the lack of choice mostly, but suddenly became my lifeline.
Yes, I am talking about the ones that you realize overnight that you simply cannot put down until you finish. Something you had not felt the urge to do in such a long time.
If you’ve fallen in love with books the way I did, and if you have felt the pain of breaking up that relationship for more practical ones with the world, you would then know the importance of having the affairs. The ones that exist only to remind you that the bliss of losing yourself in the silent voice of another word-lover, is not a thing of the past or an unobtainable childhood treasure. It can get as real as you want it to be.
And like all one-night-stands, we will wake up once the high evaporates and stare at the two choices we get; to take it to the next level and follow a locked down passion or to abandon it and continue with life the way it was till yesterday.
I thank my flings with the ‘stranger books’ for waking me up. They casually wandered into my life, not to secure a place in my shelf, but to simply make me look at the ones that lay forgotten there.