The Secret Society Of Ink And Paper
I once fell in love with a man who hadn’t heard the name ‘Jane Austen’.
Hey… don’t judge me fellow bookworms.
I did spend the next five minutes explaining ‘why she is a writer way ahead of her time’. Later, when things went south, I carried Ms. Emily Bronte with me everywhere and took a leap to Wuthering Heights every time I wanted to talk to him. I have to admit that it was not a wise choice in the time of a heart-break. But it served the purpose of the moment.
Now, several books later, it has become funny enough for me to write about. And it wasn’t the first time ‘ink and paper’ came to my rescue.
When I couldn’t breathe anymore due to my hatred for air pollution in Delhi, I stood in the vintage balcony of my friend’s flat in Mehrauli and hid my face in the pages of Open magazine. Sniffing the dry ink on the pages while reading about an artist, whose name I have forgotten and her studio made me feel like Delhi is not so bad
On my very first job interview which happened to be with a guy who had ‘entitlement’ written all over his face and I was worried about being judged for the first time, I kept thinking about the boarding school in Surrey where I had stopped reading the night before. Later, when ‘your salary is credited’ SMS became the only motivation at work; I made mental notes of books I will buy halfway through the month. Whether I have time to read them all or not, having them with me added meaning to work life.
When I spent 10 of my 24 hours in the office and felt like zombie by the end of the week, I couldn’t think of another place that would make me feel alive. Hence, my Sundays were spent behind the dusty shelves of Blossom Book House in Church Street, Bangalore. I often wonder about the staff of that store. Not once have I seen them frowning at people like me who takes five hours to choose three books. I guess they understood people come there to feed their souls, to recharge and get back to the hustle.
I have been quite vocal about my love for a book which made me boringly predictable because my colleagues didn’t take more than 60 seconds to decide that the best birthday gift they can give me is ‘Crossword Coupons’. It was a unanimous decision with no discussion or second opinions. I may have given all of them hugs more than once as I was experiencing some sort of euphoria.
I have thought about my love for books so long. My mother introduced me to books in my early childhood. But the reason I grew to love reading couldn’t be only that. Being an expert in the act of overthinking, I found the answer.
Ink on paper is magic and everyone needs some magic in their life. That’s what books are for me. Feeling the texture of every new book I receive must be triggering some frantic endorphin releasing process in my brain. It is what chocolate lovers feel at the sight of their hot chocolate mug and a fashionista feels while looking at the Met Gala photographs.
The idea that words weaved by a mind that is miles away and decades or centuries apart from where I stand resonated with mine and other millions of souls’ gives me goosebumps. Reading book is like knowing a secret and you are connected to those who know it. It feels like being part of a secret society and it makes me happy.