The Written Word


I have been addicted to the written word as far back as I can remember!

Books, magazines, words that create a thousand new worlds – never fail to amaze me. I still read and wallow into new worlds which always adapt me as a welcome listener as the stories weave themselves around me and together we reach the high points of castles in the air. Oh, the exhilaration!

I take the local train to get to work everyday. When I am not reading I like to simply watching the milling masses of people all around me and oblivious to me! People all around me. Ladies of all ages, earphones plugged in, listening to music – few enjoy those rhythms. Some talk to their train buddies or travel companions. Some bargaining and buying cheap stuff off ware sellers. Some just looking away everywhere and no where in particular – their eyes seeking answers hidden to the crevices of human brain constantly holding back a smile or maybe fighting the salty water from seeping that regularly collects at the edges of their eyes.

And some read.

Reading here is not exactly inclusive of the last minute preparation or repetition test or exam. It is not even inclusive of those reading technical books or school/college text books or reference books. I speak of those who read for pleasure. Those who read because a book calls out to them. They just need to know. The need to know what happens in the next chapter, next page, next line. Those who cannot put the book down.

I have noticed people and their expressions when they read – totally engrossed in the storyteller’s art. The feelings cannot hide. The hero of the story never hides. You got a duty to fulfill, another life in the wings that awaits you. A life that is not so ordinary or maybe more ordinary. Common solutions to uncommon experiences and vice verse.

Here is my question: When you read, when you are the hero or the bystander in the story – how does the story change or affect you? Does it make you any braver, less hypocritical, more open to ideas, more close to relationships? Does the book really leave you when you move from one book to another. When does a book really affect you – touch your heart? Even when it does touch your heart – what does it really do to you?

I like to think books affect us all differently. We are different and unique. What we see, seek and go through in our lives are all same and yet unique. When on a beach – we all have different feelings – some feel warmth, some love, some eternity, some hope – the idea is that it does not leave you unaffected. You cannot be indifferent to the sea/ocean. Similarly for books. You can love them or hate them – you cannot read them and pretend it didn’t happen. The effect it has on you will differ from person to person based on personal learning affects, effects, experiences, sympathy, empathy, nature, behavior and so on.

So when two different people going through two different types of life expectation and experiences are reading the same lines from the same book would it be weaving similar stories? Would the warmth from those knits and knots feel the same? Would it pinch in the same places?

When authors write books is it more important to tell the story? Or do they even need to think the story will create different weaves and interpretations that even they might not have thought of?

What do you think?

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