Best companion

Books are life-lines of guiding force for many in times of conflict and internal turmoil.

Books, according to me can be classified into three categories.

One, those which are ‘time pass’, with more of descriptions and mundane things which do not tax the brain. We just read through, without pausing to think or ruminate. They often have flimsy plots and many a time, no logic. It is best to read them on a journey or when we are too tired to reflect on the theme of the book.

The next category would be the fast paced, edge-of-the-seat ones which rush us through a maze or roller coaster ride. They allow us no time to think and sometimes, even to breathe before the book is read right through to its end. The murder mysteries, science fiction, detective novels all fall in this category. They might go slow at times but more often than not, the reader is seized with a sense of urgency and impatience to finish the book as soon as possible. They too, offer not much work to our grey cells or bring calmness, rather, force our hearts to beat faster, the adrenaline in our blood stream to rise and release stress hormones.

A recent study conducted by a university observed that some books have a capacity to alter the wiring in a reader’s brain in such a manner that the reader starts experiencing the plot as if it has happened to him/her rather than to the protagonist. This shows clearly that good books have a capacity to change the way people think and thus, change the society.

Such books form the last category which has to be read and savoured word by word, almost as if one is tasting an exceedingly wonderful dish carefully and lovingly made by the chef. They cannot be read in a hurry nor for pleasure. They might be slow paced and may take a lot of time to read through, mainly because the reader wants to read, re-read and read again to get more of the theme, almost like a child sucking on a candy to extract its sweetness to the fullest.

They force gently to understand, think and reflect, while trying to
understand it from various perspectives and also gain new insights into problems faced in real life. Such books are the ones which become classics and rise above time, religion, faith or customs. They are universally valid and can be applied anywhere and
to anyone.

They are life-lines for many who gain comfort and reassurance from the theme and also a guiding force in conflict and internal turmoil. In the current age of instant gratification and materialistic and easily available pleasures, such books are like a beacon, beckoning people to introspect and redirect their feelings. Books are, without doubt the best ‘satsang’ one can have.

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