Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book-Smitten

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."  ~Charles W. Eliot

I have been in love with books as long as I can remember. Books has always been my best friends. As a kid, when I used to visit my relatives and family friends, I would ask for a book (in relevance to my age of course) and settle with it in a corner and be engrossed in it for the whole time.

I guess I have got my love for reading from my parents. I have been always surrounded by books. The last thing my father does before going off to sleep is read. And I, too, have inherited his habit. My mother always finds some time to read something or the other in the day, no matter how busy she is. My sister and I used to compete (and we still do), so as to who can read which one first and threaten the other to disclose the ending.

"Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book. " ~Author Unknown

With books as my companions, I have traveled far and wide. I have been enchanted by fairies and pixies, lived the life of a boarding school, solved mysteries and discovered new places, laughed and cried with the characters, walked along the corridors of history,  charmed by the princes and princesses, mesmerized by the striking similarities of different faiths, exalted and disparaged famous and ordinary lives alike, but have drawn lessons and knowledge from all.

"Books are a refuge, a sort of cloistral refuge, from the vulgarities of the actual world. " ~Walter Pater

There is a book for my every mood. Reading makes me forget all the worries of life and transports me to a different world altogether. As a child, I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton books. I think I have read all of her books available in our school library. When younger, her stories of fairies and magic were a treat. How I wished that I too had a little fairy or a pixie  for a friend. As I grew older, her boarding school tales and mystery solving children replaced the fairies. There were also Tinkle, Panchatantra tales and Budhi Aair Saadhu. Then came the season of Nancy Drew and Archies, followed by Mills & Boons and Sidney Sheldon. As an adult, I started reading  biographies, religion, philosophy and semi-biographical novels. I am patron of Paulo Coelho. These days I am trying out books and writers of different genres. Books , which I have read recently, like Jinnah, The Twentieth Wife, Bengal Nights, Myth=Mithya, A Case of Exploding Mangoes, Prisoner of Birth, Like A Flowing River, The Memory Keeper's Daughter and so on are all from different walks.

"Good as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one."  ~Augustine Birrell
 
When my sister and myself were small, our maternal grandparents gave us whole trunk full of story books which belong to our mother and her brothers. At home, my father has a small library. So having known the joy of books, I promised myself that I would get myself at least one book a month when I start earning. And my collection is slowly growing.

"A blessed companion is a book, - a book that, fitly chosen, is a lifelong friend,... a book that, at a touch, pours its heart into our own."  ~Douglas Jerrold

I believe I have been smitten by books for life. With them, I am never lonely. With them, I am happy. Being lulled to sleep by a book at night is my perfect ending to any imperfect day.