I was born into a literary domicile. Books, here, there and everywhere. I was surrounded with them. Least I know I was born to a father who was a book himself. I was verily fathered by a book itself. Encyclopedia. This is what I used to call him. I still do.
Reading came naturally to me, sometimes by observing and imitating Dad and sometimes my uncle. Childhood went surreal in the company of my father who was visited by throng of people belonging to different political and intellectual ideologies. Deliberations, gatherings, tea parties were an everyday experience at home.
I never realized I belonged to a house which is a sea of knowledge. Iqbal, Ghalib, Rumi, Maududi, Wahidudin, Armstrong, Ghamidi were the names frequently echoing in the corridors of my home. Though like every typical teenager I was lured by television fantasies, but peace was something I always found in that corridor. The most cherished place besides that corridor was library. One of a kind. Dad’s library is a revelation. It is a home to the divine.
Shelves holding a hodgepodge of books, most of which are volumes of Islamic literature, Urdu prose and poetry, Persian and English literature and non-fiction. Dad preserved and maintained this library since his childhood. Comprising more than fifty thousand books, this place is worth a worship. It is a place where I always end up.
Looking at those books, holding them even without reading them, is a feeling I cannot put into words. As a teenager with least understanding of the content., I still used to read anything I lay my hands on. There was a solace, I used to find in the unprecedented vocabulary, bizzare texts, thematic abyss and paged mysteries. Reading was joy, whatever i was reading. Accustomed or unaccustomed.
The first book I remember buying for myself from my own pocket money was “Forty rules of love”by my favorite Elif Shafak. And the process of collecting and purchasing books became a practice. Fiction or non-fiction, I evolved with them. The power of reading generates a feeling which cannot be obtained from any networking site. From imitating to writing, they grew up with me. My love to my books is immaterial. They made me what I possibly cannot think of.
Christopher Morley, an American Journalist, poet and novelist said, “When you sell a man a book, you dont sell him 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life. The synergy between a writer and a reader is paranormal. One says, another listens. Reading is a peace of mind. There is a inimitable power in the literature which gives meaning to trials and triumphs.
New media has somehow managed to retract us from world of reading and interactions. We surely are entrapped. Circled by techonologies and gadgets, we are missing out the real pleasure.
This is the social media age, where we are now inundated with information, news, messages but reading habits have fragmented by bite size nuggets of virtual world, and that takes up much of the time that could otherwise be devoted to reading. Internet is a bizarre world, it can connect us to the globe but cannot provide that stimulation we get from reading books.
P.S : In the world of phonies and sycophants, gift youself a book.. It gives you a point of view of your own. It helps to create your own opinion. It damages your ignorance. It stimulates your mental capabilities. Surrender yourself to reading. Let’s go into the world where we will date and marry books. Let our children embody knowledge and wit.