If you have struggled taking a liking to books just like I did, I hope my short story inspires you to pick a book today.

Looking back on the good old school days, books remain, at best, bullies. I despised them, probably because they translated into a performance pressure that I wasn’t particularly fond of. Later on, during my higher-secondary days, it felt like a forced marriage with books. Owing to the peer pressure for competitive exams, I didn’t have any choice but to rely on them. Nevertheless, the fear, the distrust were there all along.

A few years down the line, this lad was a college student. Freedom was in the air! In fact, unless exams were around the corner, I had every reason to keep my distance from books.

Surprisingly, I started taking academics somewhat seriously over the following years, something that led me to the ‘temple of knowledge’ – the library. The peaceful aura of the place piqued my curiosity; it triggered something in me. My friends were puzzled and shocked in equal measure.

This newfound curiosity to understand a subject better often resulted in me scanning through various library sections. The more knowledge I gained from books, the more I appreciated them. It felt overwhelming looking up at the vast ocean of books in the library. They seemed like a world compressed in page after page of words. However, even as my relationship with books became more fun, the old fear persisted nonetheless.

All that changed when I met the monk in me as I turned to spirituality. Anyone who has been part of a spiritual community can attest to the fact that books are an integral part of this world. I was no exception to this rule as I started reading to seek the answers to my questions. Now, the relationship had a sense of purpose about it.

I began to realize the potency each word held, the vibrations they carried, and the wisdom they had on offer. But what truly endeared books to me was the effortless ease with which they could transport me to a different world altogether.

Over time, other responsibilities took over as books became a neglected entity for several months. I was going through a depressing phase in my life back then. When it got too much, I would take a break and read through snippets of random books on my social media. And that was when – at long, long last – I realized the role books had been playing in keeping me happy. Life seemed that much more difficult without these bundles of paper.

Reading for just an hour a day has a massive impact on my days. I find answers to the questions that otherwise consume my attention and drain my energy. Reading also makes me feel more creative, learned, happy, and determined.

Books are, in themselves, a world, and they help us create a world of our own. True, it’s an odd relationship to be in, but then they offer the kind of unconditional friendship we all yearn for. If anything, they are a far more beneficial distraction than, say, Netflix or social media.

In books, I hope everyone reading this can find the peace they seek.


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