Why should we read?

A short story on “Why should we read books?”

I once came across a beautiful and eye-opening story which one of my dearest friends recited upon asking,

“Why the hell should we read books? We tend to forget most of the things then Why?”

I am sure most of us had questioned ourselves once in our lifetime. Well, it’s true we do forget important things from a book. Can’t change that right? After all, we are humans. Then why the hell we should read?

The story he then told me is as follows:

Once upon a time, a son asked his father the very same question. His father smiled and said, “ I’ll answer after a week but you’ll have to do a small task for me”. The son agreed to do so. The father then gave him an old container, a pot, and asked him to bring water from the nearby river for a week and pour it into seven separate containers, one for each day. The boy was confused by this weird task but he did exactly what was asked for. At the end of the week, the boy asked, “I did as you asked, how does this answer the question?”

The pot that the father had given his son had some holes in the bottom, so most of the water got spilled here and there. Hence he could bring back a very little amount of water.

Father smiled and gently put his hand on son’s head. He asked, “If the river denotes a book and water denotes its knowledge, what do you think represents your brain?” Son thought for a moment and replied, “It must be the containers.”

Just as I thought..

Father then corrected him, “No son, that’s merely your memory. Your brain is represented by the pot you are holding in your hands.” The son was perplexed and asked his father to explain further. Father then told him, “Brain is the processing unit. Look inside those seven containers. Do you notice the dirtiest water in the first bucket and the cleanest water in the last one?” Son agreed. He further added, “This is your memory son. You couldn’t bring back the complete knowledge from the book. That’s true. But that’s not what you must focus here. Focus on how it affects your brain. Now, look inside the pot, your brain. Can you see how shiny and clean it is now? Son, this is how reading affects our brain. The more you read, the more pristine and refined your brain gets and hence you’ll bring more vital knowledge to your memory. Reading is not meant for memorizing facts. It is an exercise for your brain. It is meant to train your brain to perceive things in a better way.
And in the course, it also affects your surroundings. Let’s take a walk down the path you took to the river every day. Son, your pot had some holes as you may have noticed and so does our brain, it can’t bring everything to our memory and hence it spills knowledge just like you do when you discuss your books with your friends. Now can you see more greenery on the path you took to the river? Reading not only sharpens your brain but also makes your surroundings better.”

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who can not read” — Mark Twain

This story will always have a deep impact in my life. After hearing this story, I am even more confident in reading more about the things I like and explore beyond the boundaries of my coursework. They open up an another dimension for me to think, to study and to live. The story encouraged me to read more and more every day. I love reading technology, fiction, philosophy, psychology and almost anything that can interest me. I have been a vivid reader since then and to my surprise, I have found this story to be true in every step of my life. I hope it does the same for you.

I would like to end this blog with one of my favourite quotes

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” — Vera Nazarian

Happy New Year folks. Happy reading… ☺