Dr Sumedha Kushwaha
To set the tone, let me describe that I am writing this article from a beautiful hotel room somewhere in Imphal with a lush green view from my glass window, with rejuvenating face mask on, some jasmine green tea, hint of my new Beyonce musk and calming new age ambient music playing in the background. So, you can imagine the vibe of this article!
After thinking for a while about what to write, I was clueless and got back to the thing I love the most –“reading”. I am currently reading this book for the third time “The gospel according to Coco Chanel” by Karen Karbo. While reading it, I realized that in this age of digitalization with everything on our smart phones, people who really love to read, still love hard copies. You know, how it is a beautiful feeling in the morning to make yourself a cup of sweet ginger tea, go to the balcony for some fresh misty air, hold the newspaper and read it. For avid readers like me, its not just the content of any book/paper, it’s the feel of it. I take time to hold it, feel with my hands the texture of the cover with my eyes closed, on rainy days, I go back to some pages which are book marked and of the other things, I love smelling my books. Old books and new books have a different fragrance. It’s a sheer pleasure to cry while reading and smile or laugh at passages as if no one is watching you. When I read a book I just don’t read, I feel as if this was written for me and author is speaking to me. Don’t get scared; but when I am reading about Coco Chanel, world’s most elegant woman, I can feel her around me (Nothing paranormal.. Haha!). I am able to feel her strength, courage, audacity, snobbishness and beauty. I can relate to her success and feel her pain and her loss. I imagine that I am holding her hand and telling her “Babe, you were so far ahead of your age!” or “Coco, you are an era!”. That’s the power of a book, that it cant let you feel alone in a hotel room, rather what you reads turn out to be the most exotic experience because you are indeed in the company of woman who made everyone look and feel beautiful.
While watching YouTube the other day, I saw how people summarize books in ten points and give you a gist of it. But I think, there are so many fine things an author tries to tell by small anecdotes, personal experiences, short stories that you miss when you try to read in that format. Books are indeed the things that the author writes to personally speak to each one of you. Instead of incessantly talking gibberish with your friends or being glued to your TV screens- sometimes try and be in the company of these great beings who created history; the feeling is transformative. Back during my college days, I used to spend a lot of time in the library. The British Council Library was my second home. I made some amazing friends there, we would talk intellectual stuff, walk around the streets of Connaught Place and we were set free because those thoughts came beyond our minds. Particularly these thoughts- formed my subconscious during the formative years.
Weekends were absolutely packed as we had these small book clubs, where we gathered in a cafe and recited poetry, discussed segments of books, our favourite parts and pages with like minded people over a cup of coffee. Those were the best weekends I spent in my entire life!
One of my friends who hated reading, very reluctantly accompanied me to this book club session once. I asked him- How did it feel? He said- We judge things too often and frequently incorrect! This was by far the best thing I experienced. To which I replied- Never judge a book by its cover!
Happy to share your thoughts and form a digital book club.
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