To read, or not to read

The other day, a PR acquaintance visited me at work. A person who is always a pleasure to meet, I had to ask why she came after months.

“I didn’t have any books to share with you.”

“Oh! Tell me which one you’ve got.”

The book was lying face down on the table. She didn’t hand it to me, so I picked it up. It had such a cheesy romantic title. My expression immediately changed.

“I know it’s not your kind of book, but give it a shot.”

I quickly flipped through the book, but all I could read were phrases on steamy, cheesy heterosexual scenes.

“The author was a journalist with a national daily. She’s a woman of substance.”

“Then why do women of substance come up with such books?”

She didn’t reply, but it got me thinking.

I have nothing against women (or anyone) writing amorous stories filled with thrilling encounters, and yet I was quick to judge the book, and it’s author. I may not be the intended target audience, but then again, I sometimes wish more quality reading material is published at the same time. I am not a published author, so you may think I have no say. But as a reader, this is definitely not what I think I would like to read.

My very good friend, M, who (unlike me) is quite well acquainted with contemporary Indian authors, believes me to extremely mean and yes, judgemental.

I spent most of my late teens silently judging those who read Mills & Boons. Till date, I’ve only read two, and to be honest, it was quite a bore. Sidney Sheldon also has been quite a disappointment for me. The story lines and sexual scenarios were interesting, but post my third book, I started to find a basic template being followed. Needless to add, I haven’t picked up another SS again.

As my reading experiences have developed, they’ve transformed too and I’ve figured how each genre has its own levels of book titles.

It was two years ago when a colleague and friend had asked me to review the debut book of his friend’s, since he knew I was quite a bookworm. What I wasn’t prepared for was the extremely dense narrative that flew into various angles and parallel universes at its own whim. I know surreal storylines are not a thing of the past, but one does understand when it sounds ‘forced’ and more like a gimmick to attach itself to one particular genre. I whined right through the book. I hated having to read it, and yet, I knew I wouldn’t be at rest if I had abandoned the endeavour. Sometimes, I hate that about myself.

You know the phrase – I think, therefore I am, and I believe that we all turn out to be what we consume. Our brains, our minds, our subconscious gets guided by the matter that flows into it. And it is going to take a colossal effort on my part to train my mind to be the best it can be. Even the mind needs to be disciplined from time to time. This is exactly why I decided to focus on some quality reading for this year’s reading challenge, instead of blindly trying to aim at some obscure number. I completed 40 books last year, going well past the intended 30, and I’m proud of myself. I had forgotten the art and love for reading some two years ago due to personal issues, and I’m very happy it’s back on track.

Balance is key. Read a few titles from different genres. Many don’t realise just how reading varied books can help expand our minds, push our horizons and stretch our possibilities. It would definitely get boring reading paperback after paperback by the same author and clearly seeing through the approach after the possible fourth or fifth book. But of course, this is just my suggestion. It’s a free country. At least we think it is.

In the meantime, I’ll try to not hold personal reading choices against someone, and soon enough, I’m definitely going to try and read at least one book by a bestselling contemporary author.

The Crush

The heart aches awfully
To have someone nearby,
Sense the stillness in time
Or to stare at him sly.

What is it to feel
Your crush so close to you,
Or to have to suffer,
The pounding that turns you blue.

Out of the corner of your eye
You see the smile that dazzles;
Emotions choking you through
Your brain thoroughly rattles.

He passes by you
You stop impulsively
Staring long and hard at his back
He turns around hesitatingly

Sparks crackle through the air
Your eyes meet then and there
Confusion runs amok
Oh boy, does he even care?

Life seems funny right now
Playing hide and seek
Love turns your world upside down
Disturbance in you it reeks

How much you love this
Knowing and not knowing
What your crush feels, though
Love within you growing.

 

Black Day

To the heavens above
And Hell below;
And Man stuck between them.
Like a fish out of water,
Flapping its gills,
Actions that are all in vain.

Death comes slow,
Strikes with a blow,
Crushes your hope
With one quick stroke.
Life ceases;
Conscience ends,
One drifts away into…
The depths of the ocean.

Where no waves reach you,
Nor no rays touch you,
Death engulfs you,
Darkness leads you;
And Hell opens its doors for you.

Yes one loses hope,
Not everyone is the Pope.
Life often makes you walk,
On the tight rope.
Like pirates, brandishing their swords
Pointed their blades;
As your barefeet touch,
That dreadsome gangplank.

When strength isn’t enough,
Courage is broken down;
You give way…..
Life seems worthless,
All support is pointless;
And you give way…..

You let out a silent scream,
Bones duplicate into manifold;
You shut your eyes
Gasping for breath,
Through the punctured lungs,
Blood rushes through;
Gurgles at your mouth.

And Hell opens its doors for you.

Participating in Half Marathon Blogging Challenge – Day 13 – with Blogchatter.

Why I’m warming up to eBooks

Disclaimer: To whomsoever it may concern, this post dwells on the first year of my career as a trainee sub editor. It does not, I repeat, it DOES NOT reflect my current professional situation; far from it in reality.

 

One sits listlessly in office, swatting at flies no can see, catching a few winks in between chai breaks, but this was something I did not perceive would ever occur to me. Like everyone else, I dreamt of a profession that pays, sends you on trips and possibly kept you within the confines of an office as little as possible. And I still dream on. Journalism. Sounds like a snazzy job to be doing, but truthfully, part of it can become quite monotonous. Resting your fine tushy on a chair for six hours straight! Heck I definitely did not dream of this.

And just as sure I was about my job, I was about ebooks. They suck. I was never in favour of new technologies like the Kindle. I’m pretty old school when it comes to books. For me, the touch, the feel and the flipping of pages added to the entire experience of a book. Every time I bought a new book, I plunged my face within its pages and would sniff in the glorious bouquet of the print. If it was a second hand book, then the yellowed pages would draw me closer. It was just something else you could not argue with.

But with spending six hours in front of your office desktop, wasting at least half that amount felt criminal. Till, I discovered the real joy of reading an ebook.

I had started Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, but something better came along the way. Do not misunderstand me. Do not assume that I am degrading Salman Rushdie. It’s just that his book was not ideal for an office environment. One must ruminate, ponder over and patiently digest his words.

However for me, Michael Crichton or Stephen King could be gulped down in a jiffy. They hold your focus till they suck the life force out of you. And before I knew it, I had finished Pet Cemetary and The Shining by Stephen King, and Sphere, Disclosure and Airframe by Michael Crichton.

Earlier I believed that the constant routine of a work life had smothered my hunger for books, but I had discovered a way around it and I’m ever thankful for eBooks for making my life a little easier.

The link here will give you access to a treasure trove of long lost books and I can’t wait to get started on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K Dick!

Participating in Half Marathon Blogging Challenge – Day 12 – with Blogchatter.

My Soul Indigo

It’s the lonely path I have chosen
Or it seems some have pushed me down it,
I envy your paths, sun-lit rosen
Gardens of wonder, joy and colour.

The dry twigs crackle beneath
As my heavy feet pounds on them;
I look to God and seek release
But your happiness leaves me astounded.

Am I the stuff that blue is made off,
Sprinkling sadness on the tips of others?
“It’s just your nature, love,” my friends scoff,
“To be darned a depressing, spreading nun.”

I gaze at the rainbow, glistening bright
Hovering over the luscious paths of others,
Stretching my fingers at the sight
Hoping to grab some for my life.

Oh, what must it feel like to be bathed
In the colours of the mighty rainbow;
Dressed in orange, red, violet instead
Of my lonely soul indigo.

Participating in Half Marathon Blogging Challenge – Day 11 – with Blogchatter.