What Do I Love Doing?
Sometimes, there are times in your life when you feel like you just need to lay back and catch a break. Times when you seriously question everything you’re doing. Times when you ask yourself what the hell is going on. Like right now. I’ve just finished my 12th grade and I’ll be shortly packed off to college. I’ve just finished writing half a dozen entrances (which I totally didn’t study for), filled out more college applications than I can remember and I’m now anxiously waiting for the results of my end-of-the-year exams (which I totally didn’t study for). It’s at times like this that I think of my future. I mean, I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to study Computer Science and go on to work in a software company and then maybe start my own business. Hopefully. But is engineering what I want to do for the rest of my life? Even though I love programming, do I really want to dedicate my life to that particular field?
I don’t know, maybe. But that got me thinking. Is there anything I love doing that I wish I could do for the rest of my life? Is there something I like doing which calms my mind in a way nothing else can? Yes. Yes, there is.
I’ve been reading for as long I can remember. My mom tells me the first thing that I did when she gave me a book was bite the pages. Lol, I guess l’ve always ‘devoured’ books. Did I actually use ‘Lol’ in an article? Anyway, I still remember the first time I read a book without any help. It was such a huge thing for me, reading the words on the page myself without anybody reading them for me. That was a long time ago. And from that moment onwards, I knew it was something that I loved truly. Loved is an understatement. I was obsessed with it. So much, in fact, that my mom had to hide my Harry Potter collection when I was in the fifth grade so that I could focus on my exams. It’s a passion I’ve never really had for anything else.
It’s also something that I recently rediscovered.
In the last three or four years, I really never did have much time for reading books. I’m a quizzer and participating in competitions took up most of my time. Reading the paper or looking at articles on Wikipedia was what I did mostly. Yes, that is reading but it is of the more boring and dull sort compared to what I like. In the last couple of years, my focus has shifted to programming and software development and it’s something that I like as well, but I can get bored of it now and then. There was a period of time back in August when a friend recommended the ‘A Song Of Ice And Fire’ series (Game Of Thrones, for all you non-readers) and I tore through the series, figuratively, in a few weeks. But it’s only in the last month that I’ve actually opened up myself to reading again.
It started when my grandparents went to the States and bought me a Kindle when they came back. Intrigued, I loaded a few books onto the thing and started using it. I love technology and I have an immense belief in it, but the Kindle was something else. Perfectly mimicking the page of a book, it immersed me in an experience that I haven’t experienced in a long time. And that’s when it started again. The whole reading thing.
“…a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep it’s edge.”
— George R.R. Martin, A Game Of Thrones
Books are like little wormholes that let you pass into another time and place. They are, truly, doors to other worlds. Worlds of magic and mystery, of science and discovery, of excitement and fear and of romance. I haven’t travelled much, but I’ve gone to so many places in them. I’ve learnt so much from those little bundles of paper. Man, I can’t express how much I love books. My love for them isn’t even limited to the words in them, I could just spend hours gazing at the spine or the hardback cover. Books aren’t just a way of passing information and knowledge from person to person, they’re literally pieces of art in their own right. I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes I’ve wanted to buy a book just by looking at the way it’s designed. And you know what’s the best part? It’s that awesome musty smell you get when you open a new book or even an old one. A person could get lost in that.
There’s also something about books that makes them better forms of entertainment than most other technologies, in my opinion. In many and most cases, books are more entertaining and to put it plainly, just better than their on-screen adaptations. Cinematic adaptations of books by authors like Stephen King, John Grisham and Tom Clancy (All of whom I really, really like) fluctuate between ‘awesome’ and ‘mediocre’ but almost all of them pale in comparison to their literary counterparts. Seriously, I enjoyed the Harry Potter books more than I did the movies. In fact, I think the movies kinda sucked. The point is, books are much more descriptive, more humorous, more interesting and definitely, more entertaining.
But sometimes, my love for books can be a bit of a handicap. Well, not in the way you think. It doesn’t distract me from my normal activities or something like that. I love writing and I’ve always wanted to write reviews for books but I’m never able to write anything bad about any book, even if it is bad. I just can’t do it. It’s almost like the books have personalities of their own and I don’t want to hurt them in any way. Another side-effect is that I have to finish the book I’m reading. I can’t start another book without finishing the previous one (even if I don’t like it). I’m sure a lot of other readers suffer from this too. I hope. There is also the disconcerting thought that I might be suffering from OCD.
“ A half-read book is a half-finished love affair.”
— David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
Why am I even writing this article? I have no idea. All these thoughts have been popping up in my head over the last couple of weeks and I needed to put them down somewhere. Medium seems like a good place.
Reading also makes you a better person. Readers, on some sub-conscious level, imitate the characters that they read about on paper. And fictional characters are influential in ways which just can’t be understood. Even when you finish a book, you keep thinking about the characters and what they went through. You try to be like them. You want to be them. C’mon, how many times have you wished for an owl to drop an invite to a magical school through your window? Or maybe imagined yourself as an agent recruited by a top-level secretive espionage agency? Or even wished you were an infamous outlaw dressed in green stealing from the rich and giving to the poor and needy?
Books are like drugs for your imagination. They make it go bonkers. However, this is one addiction your mummy might encourage.
Well, my thoughts on this are coming to a close. I want to write some more but my mind is itching for me to go turn on the air-conditioner, prop open a book and maybe order some pizza to enjoy along with it. Oh man…..that is the life.
What I woudn’t give to do this every day. All day long.