By Manchin Hangzo
I can truly lose myself if I get hold of a book and can even forget the world. Such is the intense pleasure I derive from reading a book. Reading has brought so much pleasure in my life. It’s now a part of my habit which I will never give up. It’s like food for my soul which I cannot do without. In a way, I have become addicted to reading books .They says every human being has addictive habits and mine is reading. My dream is to own a library in my own home so that I get to read at leisure till the time I cannot read any longer.
One of my favourite pastimes during my school days and even now is to go to a book store or a library and browse through the numerous books. I could spend hours and hours amongst the books and the intense joy I feel can only be felt not described.
The cover of a book can be attractive but the content inside too should be equally appealing .What I normally do is read the outline of the story and decide whether the book would be an interesting read or it will be boring. I have read many books over the years and learnt to enjoy them, no matter who the author or what the story line is like.
When I read a book I can see and feel the places, people and characters described as vividly as if I am watching a movie. It’s so real. It grips my imagination. I feel enthralled as if I was living the character I see in the pages of the book. I can visualize them in my eyes and feel as if I am seeing the scene described vividly and it seems so real to me. I can forget the world and be self absorbed in the book, that hunger and the need to converse with someone doesn`t arise. A book can truly be a woman’s best friend.
Reading a book is like having your own adventure. In the pages of the book you can be who you want or become any character you fancy, you can slay the giants, be an imprisoned princess in a tower who got rescued by prince charming, be Robin Hood and whatever you imagine yourself to be.
I cry, I laugh I empathize with the characters in the story. I feel reading has enriched my life many folds. I feel more vibrant; let’s say my life has more colour and meaning after having read many books. It makes my living more pleasurable and it makes me a better person, that’s my opinion. Reading has also enhanced and increased my knowledge of the world, of people, of society and its varied issues. Hence I can converse on any topic under the sun and that makes me an interesting person.
Reading biography of great men & women I am impressed with the struggle and the challenges they faced. How they fought against all odds and triumphed and changed their lives.Then my perspective about life changes and I become a more appreciative person and the suffering I face is trifle as compared to theirs .You also get valuable tips about how to lead your life in times of crisis. I recommend biographies as a must read for people who need a boost in their life.
There are great men and women out there who made an impact and made a difference say for example Nelson Mandela who fought against Apartheid in South Africa and won. Abraham Lincoln fought against slavery, Aung San Suu Kyi a pro-democracy activist for Democracy in Burma, Bills Gates the philanthropist Microsoft giant , Indira Gandhi the first lady Prime minister of India known for her grits and toughness and in our own state our local heroes . These are names of influential people, who have helped to shape and change the world. Anyone reading their biographies will surely be inspired.
When I read a romantic novel, I can put myself into the shoes of the woman character and go on a vivid imagination spree, even twisting the plot of the story in my own mind. It feels as if it was my own story being retold and describes in words, surreal it may be. I feel the stories I read was my own experiences about love. So my romance with the bookish character begins and in real life I never came across such intense feeling as I did when reading a romantic novel.
Reading thrillers and other detective books make you sit on the edge of your seat. The adrenal you feel is in anticipation of what will happen and how the story will end. Some guesswork or prediction can be done. Sometime before I complete the whole book I can foretell the ending of the novel so I read the beginning, some middle portion and then the end. The best novels are the one who springs a surprise with a totally unexpected ending. The whole pleasure of reading a book is looking forward to what will happen, how the scene will evolve and how you explore and travel along with the story writer.
A good author will weave suspenses in his story telling and the joy is in anticipating the outcome. The funny part is that depending on the state of your mind and at what stage of life you are, you tend to pick up books that will improve your state of mind automatically. I never did appreciate Paulo Coelho or Gary Zukav during my teenage days. But now I do appreciate the philosophy of life as projected in the books written by Coelho and Zukav.
What is amazing about books is that it inspires, heals and encourages you if you are troubled, sad, or disappointed in life. “The Purpose Driven Life” By Rick Warren, Joel Osteen’s “Your Best Life Now” are books that boosted my morale when I felt low.
And How Can I Forget The Bible a rousing text, the Bible incidentally is the best written scriptures ever written, it was believed to be divinely inspired. According to the information on Wikipedia, the Bible is widely considered to be the bestseller book of all time, has estimated annual sales of 100 million copies, and has been a major influence on literature and history, especially in the West where it was the first mass printed book.
Some books are written for the purpose of changing the attitude of the populace and some stories are based on social issues for example the suffering of the Dalits due to caste hierarchy that exists in India makes for a poignant reading. It makes you think of what you could contribute to bring about social change in the Indian society.
Some books are so engaging, it compels us to pay attention on what the authors are trying to convey to us and in the process we land up learning many new things. In fact all schools should have book reading period compulsory for students.
The story teller or the authors of any books hope to make an impact in the minds of the reader .So choosing the right kind of book is important. It can also influence your mind, so one have to be wary of the kind of book you choose to read and yes children and especially adolescents do need parental guidance in choosing the kinds of books they should read.
Inculcating the reading habit at a very young age is recommended for all children. Parents should read to their children right from an early age. In the western countries and in other cities, we find bedtime story reading is a routine affair. How many of us follow this in Manipur is something not known to me.
Thanks to my Dad, I and my other siblings acquire reading habits at the early age and I remember running off to the central library on holidays with my father to borrow books. I continue this habit of going to the library even till today whenever I am.
If you look at the life of the authors, each of them has an interesting background and a sense of wanting to share what they have experienced in life and share their stories to a much wider audience. They have very interesting stories of their own to tell, some start writing because something happens to them and the first novel or book is partly biographical in nature. Some write to earn their livelihood, to make money and be a celebrity and gain fame, some because it makes them happy. For some to genuinely share information on specialised topic. And the more socially conscious people write to solve the problems of life and raise awareness about issues that they are passionate about whether they achieve it or not depend on the readers.
Whatever reasons, I am thankful that the world produces great writers to make our life much more interesting and worth living.
Go pick up a book today and start reading. I can guarantee you that you will discover a new world and it will be therapeutic.
(Manchin Hangzo is an Independent Health Consultant currently based in Imphal)