To those who do not read!
No matter how much I pride in being a journalist and crow about it, my passion drops down to futility when more than frequently I encounter certain breed of human species. These species are literate, employed, making a standard living and maintaining a reasonable responsibility. But these are also the species born with a phobia for reading. If you are reading this, there is no doubt you will be surprised to learn this and might even start doubting my senses for such a dissertation. I don’t blame you for you are learning about this here probably because you love to read. Those who do not, the very breed I am writing about, won’t even spare a glance to this page.
Believe me when I say I have friends who could not dare to traverse the first few pages of the book they laid their hands on during school days. In the first place, the book ended up in their rooms after much physical exertion. The only trip to the library in their life is impressively chronological. The big walls, cold stairs, the silence and the semi-spiritual ambience of the library governed their wit instantly. Faltering and nervously maneuvering their way through, tall shelves housing literatures and journals evaporate the moisture on their throat. Dry coughs help breath and regain posture. To save from being mortified, first book they come across is grabbed before speeding out of the library.
Empathetically speaking, a little appreciation should be offered for the laborious act they pulled to visit the library that day. Someone probably told them reading is the best of habits. Having found it easier to cross the Saharan Desert than flipping the pages of the book, our readers capitulated. Knowing them well and knowing them hard, I am convinced the day also marked the demise of their reading tendency for the rest of their lives.
I have to make a slight clarification here. I am not cloaking a robe of wisdom and preaching about reading and its gains. Neither do I claim I did more reading than anyone I know. I didn’t. But from what I have read until today, my relentless heart does not allow me to compromise with the fact that those who are not reading are missing out on world of pearls.
Will they ever know that Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, who solved the mysteries with their inexorable approach, were only a bunch of kids and a dog? Will they know Frankenstein challenged the concept of death and became prey to the same monster he animated, and that Mary Shelly wrote about it when she was only 18 years of age? Will they understand how nature and its beauty manifested as muse to churn poetry off Keats and Wordsworth? Do they not want to cry with Alcott’s family when their father returns from war, back to where his “Little Women” awaits him? Will they forgo laughing at JD Salinger’s rebellious character Holden and his liberal use of sexual connotations to point out absurdity of life? Will they ever marvel at Harry Potter and his wizardry world, the magic human imagination can create?
If not for the fictions and creative knacks, do they not want to understand the causes of World Wars, its complexities, an assumed weapon of mass destruction being sheltered in Iraq? Can they not spare a thought on how poverty and genocide took millions of lives in African countries or why religions that should have addressed the sufferings became the origin of it? Will they ever enjoy the theatre staged by politicians around the globe as they trick the innocents for their gain? Do they not want to applaud the researchers doing wonders with science or lament the failure of sattelite launches? Will they learn about media stripping Tiger Woods of his hard earned honour in the golf-dom because he slept with women besides his wife?
Having answers to all the above questions might not make you the best of the mankind, or not even close to being the wisest or the richest, but it serves as a vitamin that enhances understanding and valuing the essence of existence. Reading supplies a person with every possible adjective that help live life full of colours and vigours. As clichéd as it can get, the statement that reading opens window to the world of knowledge stands true even today. Only reading triggers human element in all its aspects.
I am not letting my hopes die so soon. Thus, I carry a small torch of anticipation that if not for more, at least one of those-who-do-not-read-breed will accidentally peer on to this page. It could happen. When it does, I aspire to let them know that it is always not late to start reading. You tried it once, you might have gotten better today. So read, for this is the only proper way to live.