Does reading excite you?

Book are my passion and I love losing myself in chapters and verses.

Does mention of books excite you? Do you love to scan the list of new arrivals in various journals and do you often pass your day thinking about a new book that is lying at your bedside table, which you can’t wait to lose yourself into at the end of the day?

Join the gang, you are my kind of gal!

We all crave for flesh-and-blood friends in our life, but all book lovers would agree with me that books are the best friend one can ever have.

At least you are assured of one thing… silent companionship!

At times in my life when I have felt completely alone and dejected, books have always been that knight in the shining armour, to rescue me, comfort me and save me from slipping into depression.

My mum being a voracious reader herself, always told me that when in doubt or despair, turn to your own inner strengths, and good books. These two will never let you down.

I opened my eyes in a house that was littered with books, literally. There were huge wooden shelves and cupboards almost cringing with the weight of books, on nearly every topic in the world. Being newly introduced to the wonderful world of reading made me a greedy reader. Print fascinated me so much, that I would read anything that I could lay my hands on, from dictionary to magazines, to novels to scraps of papers I found lying on the roads.

My newfound passion was so overriding that during the long hot summer afternoons when the entire house would be wrapped up in a peaceful siesta, I would sneak into the little store room at terrace, pull out books and devour them, unmindful of the sweltering heat and lack of ventilation. However, this room was full of books that I was told, was meant for adult reading only. The forbidden books for a child of eleven, were those that came under the genre of novels, such as Pearl S. Buck’s “Portrait of Marriage”, D.H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, “Sons and Lovers” … all these were taken away from me if I ever picked them up. The detective novels and the Mills and Boon series were also banned for me. I was given hoards of books of Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens, P.G. Woodhouse, Prem Chand, and books on literary short stories, etc, all selected carefully by mom.

However, my insatiable mind would not be satisfied with books that were meant only for a girl of my age. I wanted to explore the mysterious world of adults too.

One afternoon I was in that little store room, and had pulled out the fully illustrated ‘Kamasutra’ randomly. Fascinated by the cover, I opened the pages. Just when I was trying to decipher a very intricate pose of a naked man and woman trapped into some kind of a punishing posture, a shadow falls on the book. My mom was standing above me peering… not at me, but the page that was opened before me, and there was a look of absolute horror on her face. She was more concerned about what I was looking at, than snatching the book immediately from my hand. She realised that she was a bit late, and I already had a baffling glimpse of something that I had not even begun to understand fully. Why didn’t I hear her coming up the stairs…?

I blamed my brief attention lapse on that bewildering book. It had zapped my senses completely for a while.

The book was taken away and as punishment, a huge lock was slipped over the terrace door. I was allowed into that room only when chaperoned. That was the perplexing world of adolescent, and it’s a different matter altogether, that when I finally had all the freedom in the world to read whatever I could lay my hands on, I found Vatsayana’s “Kamasutra” the dumbest book I have ever read on sex. I cannot categorise it even as good pornography. In retrospect, I realised that mom was unnecessarily paranoid about me seeing the pictures of those contortionists with deadpan expressions on their faces (where was the rapture Vatsayana spoke about?) After all, it was only a book!

Nevertheless, the wonderful world of books is something that having once discovered, no one can ever be tempted to leave it. My greatest horror is to be trapped in some place without books.

Hope that never happens to you and me.