My Mom was addicted to reading. She couldn’t sleep until she read in her bed for a couple of hours. We were given strict instructions to sleep by 10:00 pm. I would lie by my mother’s side pretending to sleep while reading secretly. It wasn’t easy.
Sometimes, she used to turn page when I wasn’t finished; sometimes her fingers covered the text (from few words to whole paragraphs) and worst of all sometimes I was caught. I could rarely make sense of what I was reading; partly because of the missing parts, partly because the stuff she used to read was difficult for my age. But, none of this could stop me from reading. I found my first love in reading at a very tender age.
My love for words grew with me. I joined libraries and created my own and treated my books with utmost care. In my twenties, I realised reading came naturally to me. My eyes won’t catch the big picture on a poster but I would certainly remember a small text written on it. I wouldn’t know a person’s name but I knew what was written on his/her T-shirt.
We are told that reading is a good hobby. I learnt it can also be an addiction when I ended up spending all my money buying books.
“Hi.. I am near English book depot at Rajpur road. Can you come here?” I had to call my roommate
“Why?” She seemed reluctant
“Well.. I found some nice books and kinda spent all my money. I need just Rs.10 to get a ride home. Please.”
“I don’t believe you. Are you telling me you spent every single penny you had?”
“I know I got carried away. Are you coming?”
Thankfully, she came. But after that she never trusted me near bookstores anymore. She made sure I don’t do something like this again.
New book of my favourite author was releasing and I pre-booked a copy. I waited desperately. But, everything changed once I got it. I read around 30 pages and tossed it aside. After that, there was another, than another and soon there was a bundle of books I started but never finished. Eventually, I stopped picking up any books.
“So? What are you reading these days?” An old friend asked on phone
“Ummm.. Nothing really”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I am not reading these days. I have kind of stopped”
“Is everything OK?”
“Of course! Why would you ask that?”
“Reading and you go hand in hand. I cannot imagine you without a book. No matter how much you fake it but if you are not reading something seriously wrong with you.”
“Now you are being dramatic. People outgrow their interests all the time.”
“Reading was life blood in you. It wasn’t something you could outgrow. Please take it seriously” She was genuinely worried and secretly I knew she was right.
Couple of months later, I was diagnosed with depression. After that, there were medicines, counselling even relapses which continued for almost three years. After three long years, I instinctively knew I am completely cured and fine. Because, I had again fallen in love with my books and once that happen I can take care of everything else.