|Source of the pic: Here|
While the world is witnessing the paradigm shift in (almost) each of the technological innovations and the new improved advances are eating away even the imprints of their originals, there do exists people like me who are and would always remain those from ‘old school of thoughts’. When I say paradigm shift, I mean fixed lines paving way for mobile phones which later side-stepped for smartphone revolution which continues to storm the world of possibilities; the audio cassette player gave up its life for the survival of compact discs players which again are thwarted by the emergence of mp3 and other media files options; the good old computers and desktops giving space to laptops and palmtops and more recently to tablets, i-pads and the list goes on.
The similar transitional and transformational phase is currently underway in case of our beloved physical books. While the extreme phase of extinction might just remain a fantasy the paradigm has already started shifting towards e-books with the advent of kindle and other e-readers – the fact which I (for some strange reason) hate to own and in which I also seem to be becoming a party.
I love reading books and more than that I love owning them up which makes me a bibliophile in truest sense. My fantasy doesn’t stem from the fact that I am either a voracious reader or own a sizeable fortune good enough to spare a periodical amount over these. Infact, it’s the other way round. I love reading books but I don’t fall amidst those elite classes who guzzle a book a day, on the contrary, I tend to live with the book I am reading. And whenever I finish one book, the hangover of the same remains with me for some days (unless it really a shitty piece of crap) before I harp on to the next journey.
There is something magical about the world of books (the physical one, I mean). Each one in my possession seems to carry a part of me in their pages – amidst the character they house, amongst the story they hold. Strange it sounds...isn’t!!! But that is what explains my equation with the books. It’s not that I have been reading the books since my early childhood or even school days. No, infact I actually started reading pretty late after the school when we shifted the base to Delhi and being an introvert I couldn’t find anyone but these books to turn and befriend. At-least it was far better and easier to bond with these than with many of the sophisticated wandering souls roaming around with their own specific agenda (I wonder if they thought the same about me too).
Yes, it was just me, my books and our silent conversations. So when I first heard about the books in electronic form, the term e-books and all other incidental terminology instantly attracted my genuine dislike. I mean I was flummoxed as to how one can read the book on the computer (or any other electronic media). Before I could make any peace with the concept, there came ‘Kindles’ with all pomp and show which simply left me scoffing with a sigh, “Ah, Who cares about these, nothing could beat the charm of physical books, come what may. I will never own one.”
A couple of month back, I actually got the chance to see a kindle device and it did leave me curious. But my sense of loyalty to the physical books was too deep to get distracted by these momentary curiosities. Then a coincidence happened, it was my birthday few days back and my brother, noticing my love for reading gifted me the kindle. Strangely enough, I was excited but at the same time somewhat unsure too as to whether the kindle reading would give me the same joy as the physical books. I did download some books on the device, something which left me with a feeling of trepidation of being disloyal to my world of physical books L plus the bibliophile in me keeps staring me from one corner with an accusation of changing loyalties and preferences. Did I . . . Really?
“Look at me you, and listen. There is nothing in this god damned planet that can really overshadow my love for you. You were there for me, with me when no one was there & you will remain with me till no one is here. I can still sense those characters and junctures in you which clasped many of those silent moments of unfulfilled aspirations and unquenched desires which stir the soul from within every now and then but which gets solace whenever I revisit your pages. The sensation of merely holding you in my hands and fluttering through your ivory leaflets impart a feel of freshness and gratification to the soul nurturing my imagination with dreams of realities that could have been. Your consistency with which you embrace me every time I surrender to you with discontent heart and restless soul always amaze me."
"Hey . . . do you remember those lazy mornings we spent in each other’s lap sipping that hot coffee which did left those pastel marks on your face . . . and what about those prolonged afternoons we spent in each other companionship holding hands during a long train journey which did create contours and wrinkles on some of your pages . . . and I am sure those silent midnight hours we spent in each other’s cuddle must be afresh in your memories when we promised to stay awake through-out but unconsciously ended up sleeping while weaving those stories aloud. The smile on your face and the glow in your look convince me that you do remember all. So now tell me my books, be candid . . . Can someone whose morning starts in your lap, afternoon spent in your companionship and night culminated in your cuddle, ever forget you?”
And it is true in depth. The feeling of holding the books in the hands and that misty aromatic smell of its pale brown pages is surely intoxication hard to overcome. I remember there are times when I just open that small book-shelf of mine and keep on gazing the inhabitants that grace the place; arranging and re-arranging & sorting and re-sorting them comprise another activity for spending time with them.
I don’t know whether we (me and kindle) will accept each other or not. But even if we do, I guess the kindle would not be a substitution but an addition to the physical books, because I know that there would be titles which I would like to have and read in the physical form.
My world is still incomplete, my dreams are still unfinished and my thirst is still unquenched. These desires would always remain insatiate as they have been fractured and scattered everywhere into tiny pieces. There are and will be the books which would have the stories embracing the junctures and binding the characters that would continue to carry a part of mine with them. And until those fractured parts are collected and glued together to create a complete Me, the tryst with the books would continue and the journey would go on.
What do you think? Were you ever able to get over the aroma and flavor of the physical books?
~Shubh Life . . . Om Sai Ram
© 2016 Manish Purohit (Reserved)