And then one day in 8th grade, a new English teacher came in. As cheesy as it sounds, she was like a breath of fresh air. While other teachers taught us a subject, she made us feel that English was a person. Someone who could talk, walk, cry and laugh. I picked up my first book to impress her. To make myself more useful in her class, to contribute and make myself visible. She soon left the next year, but English remained with me forever, Book never left me after that. Till then books for me where limited to just comics. Soon, I picked up ‘fat’ books. My parents stared at me as I told them in 9th grade that I wanted Anna Karenina as my birthday gift. I never could complete it, but I picked up many books after that. I completed each one of it.
During the cold winter season of Delhi, I would cover myself from head to toe under the razai and use a torch to read a book. I used to hate eating lunch alone after coming back from school. My grandma used to sit with me to chat so that I would eat. Now she could sleep while I read a book as I ate. There is a very interesting anecdote too. Apparently, M was in London for an assignment even before we had met, While returning to India, one of his colleagues invited him home for a send off party. At her home, he saw a huge cardboard box full of books, which she had planned to give away. For some strange reason, he brought the entire carton to India. (He never used to read at that point of time.) Stranger were his thoughts. He felt that he will soon get married and maybe his wife would be a reader!! Needless to say, I spent the initial few months of our marriage devouring those books.
I kept reading, and the number of books kept on increasing. I began building shelves in my home to accommodate these books. Though my love for books has been increasing ever since, the cleanliness freak in me got bugged. The dust the books collected, the lack of space and the number of cartons I began to pile up began to increase. Then one day, I decided to buy a Kindle. I told myself to look beyond the yumm smell of a new book, and the feel good factor of holding real pages. It’s been about a year that I have been reading on my Kindle. I have a Kindle Paperwhite (wi-fi + 3G) and its an absolute delight, Since then I have also made a few crazy readers like me shift to Kindle.
The best thing that happened was last week, I decided to let go of all the books I have. I donated over 125 books to 2 libraries. One of the library owners called me up and told me recently how much the books I donated are read and appreciated. My job as a book lover is done. If you love something, it must be shared with others too. My love for books has reached out to many. My helper is happy, she now dusts just a few books which I just cannot give away. (Too much of sentimental value!)
I don’t have to think about M sleeping next to me while I read without having to switch on lights, or the fact that sometimes I sit and read in my balcony late evenings. Moonlight, cool wind, me and Kindle. Cheers!