A Birthday Ritual That Stayed With Me For Years

Sometimes the things we reject for things that we prefer, may end up becoming an important part of our lives, if we give them a chance.

Sometimes the things we reject for things that we prefer, may end up becoming an important part of our lives, if we give them a chance.

It was a birthday ritual her father had thought of on her first birthday. A trip was made to their favourite bookstore and they bought enough books to read until the next birthday came. As she started growing up, she eagerly waited for her birthday to come, excited for the ritual. Her father would help her in carefully selecting the books that she would keep with her forever. Forty years and the ritual still stands strong. In fact she has even introduced the ritual to her little ones who cherish it just as much.

On her 14th birthday, she was introduced to Mr. T by her Dad. They stood in the middle of the store adding and removing the books from the shopping cart, so that everything fit in the budget. She had removed the book by Mr. T, which was the thickest book she had seen in her fourteen years. She had decided against the book three times as it was expensive and taking it out meant she could buy two books of a detective series she loved. But her father kept putting it back in the final pile. He saw the look on her face and said, “Trust me, you might write a story one day about me introducing you to Mr. T. Just trust my judgment here.” She reluctantly gave in and her father made the payment.

And so she began her journey with Mr. T. The first page itself started making her drowsy. But almost as an obsession, she could never put a book down once she’d picked it up. Thus, she continued. She realised that she would need to sit with a dictionary because there were many words she was reading for the very first time. It took her over five months to complete the book. Her father asked her questions about the book, and she replied saying that she did not understand much but she felt fuller in her mind and heart. Her father told her to read the book again when she was older.

She did read the book again in her late 20s. She had just become a mother to her first born and every time she would breastfeed him, Mr. T would accompany her. Sometimes, she would read excerpts of it to her infant who would fall asleep, as if a lullaby was being sung to him. This time she took three months to complete the book and immediately felt nostalgic. This time the book gave her a different insight. But once again, her heart and mind felt fuller.

She had turned 40 a month ago and she found herself in the confines of her home, along with her family who brought out the best and the worst in her. Her only recluse was the newly designed library space with a beautiful lounge chair and an accompanying foot rest. She would resign to this chair every night at 11:00 p.m. and would get lost in words that she devoured with her whole body. And once again, her heart felt to feel fuller again and her mind was parching for a new insight. She once again herself enwrapped the words written by Mr. T.

“All we can know is that we know nothing. And that’s the height of human wisdom.”

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