Skip to main content

The Reader's Tale

A couple of days ago, I did something I haven't done in far too long: I picked up a random book out of the large collections that my parents have assembled over the years and began reading. Of late, I've spent most of my time watching videos and checking social media. I'd almost forgotten what it felt like to hold an actual, physical book in my hands and read (frankly, I was surprised I remembered how to turn a page).

The book, as it happened, was Jeffery Archer's "A Prisoner of Birth". Personally, I haven't read a whole lot of his books, but intend to do so now. But I digress. The point is, reading the book was so much better - several orders of magnitude better - than any video I've ever watched.

Needless to say, I finished the book in two days. Not because it was a great book - although it was - but simply because, after all these days of allowing the grey matter to turn brown with rust, I was finally exercising my intelligence and expanding my mind. I can tell you, it's a wonderful feeling. I'm also vaguely proud to say that for the past couple of days, when I plugged my phone in to charge at night, it was still 80% charged - compared to 10 or 12% before I began reading again.

Reading a book to me is like a short trip to another universe - and this is probably one of the main reasons I don't read the books that are currently popular very much. When I read a book, I want to be transported to a universe that is nicer than the one I'm currently in. It's also the reason I don't watch horror movies very much. Why would you go voluntarily to a place that isn't as nice as the one you're already in? For reasons that I am entirely at a loss to comprehend, however, that seems to be what my classmates (the ones that read matter consisting of more than just school textbooks, that is) are into right now. I've always felt that that says something rather scary about my generation. 

In closing, my advice to all you wonderful folks is, to quote Roald Dahl:

"So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, 
Go throw your TV set away, 
And in its place you can install 
A lovely bookshelf on the wall. 
Then fill the shelves with lots of books, 
Ignoring all the dirty looks, 
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks, 
And children hitting you with sticks- 
Fear not, because we promise you 
That, in about a week or two 
Of having nothing else to do, 
They'll now begin to feel the need 
Of having something to read. 
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy! 
You watch the slowly growing joy 
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen 
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen 
In that ridiculous machine, 
That nauseating, foul, unclean, 
Repulsive television screen! 
And later, each and every kid 
Will love you more for what you did." 

P.S. Once again, I apologize for my long absence, this time because I was off trekking in Yercaud.

P.P.S. I have added a different commenting widget to my blog now (look below), so all of you who said you couldn't comment because you were required to log in to your Google+ account, I now expect activity from you. If I don't see any, I, Ritvik Mandyam, will look at you accusingly. As always, thanks for reading. Also, please share this blog so your friends can read it and (hopefully) be amused by it. 


Popular posts from this blog

No Good Place To Do Mutra Visarjan In This Country...

At least, that's what Chatur Ramalingam seems to think. However, many of our fellow Indians seem to disagree with him. According to them, there are nothing BUT places to do mutra visarjan (for all you poor, masochistic folks - ah, I mean, non-movie-going folks - out there, mutra visarjan means urine expulsion). In case you haven't guessed already, we're going to be talking about one of India's most widely criticized and even more widely practiced issues - public urination.

I'm not exactly saying that it's our people's fault - I mean, come on, we have so much urine-related cultural history! Just in the past 50 years, we've had people who've used their urine for everything from watering plants to drinking it (I believe that some people also flush it down their toilets. How wasteful of them). Besides all the historical precedents, however, we also have some more practical reasons for peeing wherever and whenever we feel like.

If you've ever seen a …

Exam Fever

As anyone currently in the twelfth will tell you, with varying levels of dismay, the final exams are right around the corner. Parents everywhere are seizing their children's phones and taking time off from work. Panicked screaming ensues at intervals.

I don't believe there's a person on the planet who genuinely enjoys exam season. Actually, I take that back - there's no one in India who enjoys exam season. Partially, I think this is our own fault. Exams are the most important things in an Indian student's life, so parents seem bent on bottling up all the worry and concern they have about their kid's education and allowing it to spew forth in a torrent of "No more video games!" and "Delete WhatsApp!" commands during the two months surrounding the exams. Small wonder, then, that at 17, I believe the purpose of exams is to seasonally blot the sunshine from otherwise happy lives.

This whole exam fever thing does have some upsides. Okay, one - it…

Riding Away

A couple of weeks ago, I undertook a gargantuan task: I decided to teach my mother to ride a bicycle. Somehow, during her more youthful years, she never found time to pick up that particular skill, and now she is to rectify this deficiency.

My own bicycle is sized for adult males and as such, it's a little big for Mom. In order to enable her to reach the pedals, I walked down to the nearest stand and brought her a smaller bicycle., for those of you who don't know, is a company run by Zoomcar which lets you rent bicycles for a couple of rupees an hour. It's great, because it spared me having to go around the neighbourhood in search of a bicycle that Mom could use.

Once I brought the bicycle home, the real tribulations began - for Mom, that is. I simply stood on the side of the road and took videos of her travails to contribute to the family albums. I don't know how many of you recall the experience of your first bicycle ride. I remember mine with real c…