People often exclaim that I read a lot. I maintain that I don’t quite – certainly not as much as I would like.
I love to read. In the dusty pages of a library book (or in the New Age – the gleam of LCDs), can one truly trick life and be more than what one can ever be. With the help of the written word, one can cast spells, chase down bad guys, run a country, find a handsome prince, ride dragons and horses with equal zeal, jump down from mountains or burning buildings, save the world in the most heroic way, make friends with robots, hitchhike between galaxies and live one’s deepest most cherished alternate self and amuse (and amaze) ourselves with our acts of heroics – all the while sitting in the comforts of our home.
When I read, I am transported – I bravely enter the realms of the world created by the author for me.
Many think that since I love reading, I probably KNOW a lot. Whilst I’m happy with the rather formidable and awe-inspiring impression it creates on others, I don’t quite think that is true. I don’t have an eidetic memory, nor can I readily recall everything I have read (which would explain why I never quite topped all the exams I took).
Perhaps this misunderstanding stems from the common belief that:
Reading = Gaining Knowledge.
The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Merely reading something does not ensure gain of knowledge. I know I must be ruffling a few feathers when I say so (I can feel the glare of “hard core readers” upon me). But I also hope to dispel the heaviness associated with the term “Reading” by non-readers – the implied fallout (and pressure) of having to ‘gain knowledge’ every time they wish to READ something. Could this be keeping them away? I certainly hope not.
But if it is, I dare to provide a simpler equation (and hopefully, a soothing one):
Reading = Joy / Happiness / Pleasure
Remember this: just read for the moment! Read for the joy it gives you. Read for the smile a “happily ever after” story brings on your face. Read for the tear of a re-union. Read for the triumph, read for the passion, read for the grief, read for the belief. Read for the moment!
It is only with the written word shall you experience the true depth of human emotions. Let your mind be the most powerful actor you have ever seen, as you use the power of your imagination and the author’s written word to bring a whole new world to life. Take a journey, live a thousand lifetimes… read for the joy it gives.
When you stop counting numbers (“How many have you read?”), stop trying to impress or intimidate others (“I have read this… have YOU?”), you will discover how the term “reading” looses the feeling of dread you had attached to it. See it become the single most liberating gift you can ever give yourself.
I often hear people say that they don’t have the time to read. Trust me, it is not the time – it is the inclination that you lack. I myself went through a phase earlier this year when I could not take out ‘time’ to read. After a while, a feeling of betrayal took over me – I was denying a significant part of me the joy I get by reading. People say that they have no time even for their significant others; what to talk of taking time out to read. I say this: if you cannot take out time to keep yourself happy, how can you ever think of taking time out for others?
I do not wish to sound like a relationship counselor here. I merely state this:
If you are an avid reader, having become one of the lucky few to have discovered the joy of reading, do not deprive yourself of it for too long.
If you are a non-reader, I hope this article gives you enough strength and hope to pick up something you have wanted to read for a while now. Armed with this new idea and equation that I presented earlier:
Reading = Joy / Happiness / Pleasure,
I hope you accomplish the task and do not find ‘reading’ as daunting as you might have earlier.
All I can say is give it a shot! You never know, you might just be gifting yourself a newfound treasure. You might be gifting yourself the words of happiness!
People say I read a lot… I say I just read more than some and a quite a lot less than a few others 😉Images courtesy: Wisdomtimes.com, Ayushveda.com & IBNLive.in.com