Changing lives through reading

We have been having many contests in our library and I have been participating in them. That is why dear reader, you saw that poem Take time to read, and now you are seeing this :)

There was a contest for writing an essay on ‘Changing lives through reading’. This is my entry.

You pick up a book and read it. Sometimes the story will be fast and edgy, sometimes it will drag on and on like real life. But you will read it nevertheless. Sometimes, to your embarrassment, it will make you laugh out in public, attracting frantic stares from strangers. Sometimes it will make you smile, not a toothy grin, just a little twirling of the ends of your mouth. A mental smile.

You will feel crushed when the books tells you of a tragedy and you will weep. You will wail and struggle in your mind to come to terms with loss. But finally, you will find comfort in the same pages that became the cause of your grief.

There will be books that will shake you to the core and leave you exposed. They will leave your eyes wide open to the world and you will see more than you are willing to see. They will lead you down the paths that you would not have dared to venture alone. And you will experience worlds that were hitherto unknown to you; hidden from your view by the dense fog of irrelevant details that you are surrounded by, every single day.

Then there will ones that will make you fall in love. It could be an idea, character or story or even a person, but you will fall head over heels. Sometimes, you will fall in love with the whole world just because of something in that book and you will start appreciating life.

Books have the power to make you feel so much more than you might think is possible. They let you live many lives without having to choose. Some of these will be in another city or another country. Sometimes, they might be in another world altogether; an alternate reality perhaps. But the worlds will be many and there will be no barriers to stop you from exploring.

Yet, all of these feelings will eventually fade away and be buried deep in your memory as a soft whisper. The flame that these books will ignite in your heart will eventually peter out. Your heart will not beat with the same passion after you’re done with the book. When you move from book to book, so will your consciousness. You will remember the words on those pages no more.

Then one day you will see something that will make you smile and you won’t know why. A distant tragedy will make your heart weep and you will fail to understand the connection. You will feel the rage of righteous indignation when you see injustice and you will not understand why it affected you in that way. Little acts of love and kindness will stand out to you and you will understand the value of the small things in life. And you will wonder, ‘What changed?’

You changed. Every time you read those listless words on paper, the author spoke directly to your soul and changed it one word at a time. While you were not paying attention, your whole being was getting transformed in the forge of thoughts. You were being molded by the fire of words and you did not even realize how your life was changing while you were busy reading.

What do you think? :)

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