My love affair with books began very late in life. In my 30s to be precise. Until then they had been passing acquaintances, the kinds you'd spend a few minutes with while waiting for the kids at the bus-stop, but never invite home. It is not as though I did not try to read. In college, after I got married, during holidays, and on many other occasions I tried very hard to strike a friendship with them. I picked up recommended titles and spend hours agonizing over them but all they helped me do was sleep (which was not a bad thing though).
Turns out it was the classic case of kissing the wrong frog, or many of them.
It was only after I had completely given up on reading, and myself -- I had kissed too many wrong frogs, you see -- that I finally met my prince in a travel book. And then began the journey of discovering a world I had no idea existed. Day after day, week after week, month after month, my non-existent bookshelf filled up with authors and titles I hadn't heard of. Some of whom I loved, some who I adored, and some who went on to become close friends (all hail Facebook!).
It is these books, and their writers, that also made me pick up my pen. They taught me that no matter how ordinary you might be, as long as you can put into words your deepest feelings -- fear, joy, love, agony, desire, longing -- you can be an extraordinary in your own way. They gave me a sense of purpose. This purpose, pardon me if I sound too cliched, changed the course of my life. From a listless, lost, and borderline depressed person, I became a bold and fearless writer who apart from feel-good stuff, also wrote about things good girls don't even talk about.
Something else also happened in this time: the writer in me got so involved in writing and creating new stories that it overshadowed the reader in me. While I kept buying more and more books, I had no time to read them. In the last few weeks a lot of people have asked me why have I not been writing, I had no answer. How could I explain the loss of words, thoughts, and ideas? How could I disclose the long list of half-written articles, incomplete stories, and abandoned posts. I am a self-proclaimed writer after all?
This morning after sending everyone off I sat down with myself to introspect. And it is then that I spotted the thick layer of dust on my books. I also noticed over half a dozen new books that have remain untouched for months. I immediately abandoned the idea of introspection and picked up a duster. As I dusted each book, smelt its pages, and arranged it back on the shelves of the rack, I could feel the words returning to my pen.