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In this winning entry of December Book Talk writing theme, Sonali Dyal writes beautifully on how reading transformed her life.
This December Women’s Web, with JustBooks, is running Book Talk, a writing theme where you get to write (read) about books that inspire us.
For December, our writing cue was:“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home.” ― Anna Quindlen,How Reading Changed My Life.
Our second winning entry is by Sonali Dyal.
Have you ever walked into a particular space and that place transported you down memory lane? The smells and sounds remind you of a time in your life which you associate with a sense of calm or happiness? I do. For me this place is a bookstore. And even today when I walk into one it takes me back to my earliest and fondest memories of being an individual with the right to choose. The right to choose a paperback of my liking which made me feel so special and important and the humility and wonderment that followed once I began reading. The entire process of being in a bookstore along the many aisles and shelves catering to every interest and mood possible still makes me feel the same. It feels like the magic kingdom which has the ability to take me on a journey filled with various people and amazing adventures.
As far back as I can remember, my absolute favourite activity has been reading. Since I managed to read letters and understand printed words, about the age of four (as am told) I let curiosity get the better of me. I picked up the habit of reading like a fish takes to water, evidently and effortlessly. Credits to my parents for instilling this in me by reading aloud to me and narrating stories. My love for books being such that I was known in my entire circle of relatives as the black sheep. The one who shies away from sitting and bonding with family and is never out of the house without two books in her bag. A family event usually turned into a search party for me and I would inevitably be found holed up in some room with a book pressed to my nose.
From reading under the blanket with a torch to reading in moving vehicles, I don’t remember being minus a book.One hilarious scam I have pulled over books is having the boys in my senior school grade draw books for me from the library. As a student we had one library slot in the week and were only allowed to take one book. For me this 30-minute slot was the most awaited in the week and soon disappointing at having a limit on how many I may take home. So I came up with a plan. As most boys in my class were more into sports than reading, I convinced all of them to draw books for me, so instead of one I went home with a dozen crammed into my backpack. This worked beautifully for months, them picking up ‘chick books’ and leaving them on my desk, till the day the old librarian wondered why these adolescent boys were so keen on Judy Blume, Sweet Valley, Danielle Steel and the like. Needless to say, I got the firing of my life but then and now, it was totally worth it.
Today am lucky to work with an organisation that houses a library which is beautifully stocked with classics as well as the newly published ones. At least now, being an adult allows me the freedom to draw more than one book at a time. Ah the joy of growing up! As I am writing this it suddenly hit me that every memory, escapade, adventure in my life involved books. From enjoying me-time by putting my phone on silent mode, coffee and book in hand or getting through a bad day or situation, books have always been my therapy.
Life takes a course where no matter how much we may plan it always turns out to be different and unexpected. But the one thing that has never disappointed or failed me are books. They have proven to be a life raft in times where no amount of human contact would have helped. They have provided company during meal time and comfort late into the night. In today’s day and age people claim they can’t do without their phones or iPads. For me I can live without anything as long as I have a trunk full of books to keep me engaged. For there is no greater joy than seeing the artistically crafted covers and hearing the rustle of pages. I am indeed a bibliophile and immensely proud to be one. I have lived several lives while reading, travelled across countries and continents and met many others, some like me some startlingly different. And with them I laughed and cried and grieved and celebrated.
As a famous quote by Mason Cooley states – Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.
Shonali wins a Rs.500 voucher for this entry, from JustBooks, India’s First & Largest Community Library Chain.
JustBooks gives you (and your entire family, from toddlers to teens, dabblers to bookworms), a wide selection of 9 lakh books on an affordable membership plan! You can read unlimited books and at your leisure with no late fee. Don’t forget to check out their excellent reading list for women, and other book recommendations!
Cover image via Shutterstock
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