“A book is the only place in which you can examine
a fragile thought without breaking it.”
–Edward P. Morgan
Why do people read books? There are many theories trying to explain why people do. One of them, as many think, is the old-and-tested. According to this theory, if a child observes its parents and grandparents at home reading books, it is likely to pick the reading habit.
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world,” said Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, “Love of books is the best of all.” And, when the child observes everyone at home reading, when it finds itself surrounded by books, the chances of child taking to books are very high.
In my Tai Chi class, today, I was talking to R. Kannan. “Both, my wife and I, are voracious readers… Our house is filled with books everywhere,” he said, “Our two sons (14 and 12) have been infected with this habit from us.”
But, the interesting thing is the subject of books that fascinates each individual. Kannan’s older kid loves Sci-fi books and topics which seem out-of-this-world. The younger one, Kannan and his wife have different tastes!
Yesterday, I was on my way to Lonavala to conduct a training session for the Youth of an international organization. 22-year-old Gunjan was deputed to accompany me in the car. He was one of the core-team members. What impressed me about his boy was: he used a mobile handset that seemed almost extinct… A simple, basic phone! Yes, all through the journey, he was getting calls from and making calls to his fellow team-members and doing his job fabulously. He also was carrying with him a very thick fiction – ‘Catch 22’. He came about extremely well-informed and well-grounded young man. Above all, a young man with his head firmly planted over his shoulders… “I would rather prefer to spend my time reading books than wasting it on useless social media,” Gunjan said to me very confidently, “Life is better this way.”
Later, during the training session, I was talking to the young guns about the importance of distinguing our needs from our wants. I instinctively asked Gunjan to show his mobile phone to his friends. “Any one here has this kind of phone?” I asked. Obviously, none had. “My dear young friends, it takes real guts, real self-confidence, to make such choices,” I explained, “I am not trying to pit you guys against Gunjan… I am only trying to tell you guys, that by making this one choice, he has enough time in hand to read a fat fiction which he has carried today while coming for this camp.” Then I asked, “Has anyone else, here, carried a book?”
I wasn’t into reading till I was inspired by Prof. B.S. Raman to become a teacher. That was when I was in first year B.Com. I was miserable in English – reading, writing and speaking, all. I was, also, very scared to face an audience, due of high levels of social anxiety, fear of being judged and rejected. So, this was the time, when I dreamt of becoming a teacher and writer like my idol, I started reading… anything that made me feel good, anything that made me soar high… anything that calmed down my anxiety…
“You're never alone when you're reading a book.” Said Susan Wiggs. Yes, ever since I started reading – and writing – I have never felt alone. Rather, I have never felt lonely.
In books I have found my best friends… best guides, teachers, mentors and soul mates, even.
Coming back to the question: Why do people read books?
Only who read the books can tell.
Pic.: Niyothi Lobo