Updated: Dec 1, 2021
I developed my reading habit pretty early on. I started with the basics - Hardy Boys, Famous Five, what have you. Then came your Nancy Drews and Percy Jacksons. And then, around the time when Harry Potter should have followed, I started observing my elder sister's picks. And in a childish whim to grow up too much, too quickly - I started picking up the big ones - your White Tigers and Paulo Coelho philosophies. I couldn't comprehend most of it, of course, but I felt precocious just carrying them around for everybody to see, so my lack of understanding didn't bother me too much.
As in every student's story, my obligations caught up with me, and I had to let go of my avocation. Looking back, I wish I hadn't. That way, I would have gotten value out of at least some of the books I read during that period, but I digress. Life slowed down eventually, but concurrently I found that the written word was lost on me. That was one of the only times I broke my self-imposed rule against forcing myself into something. I read, without following. I read, until I couldn't. And then, I read till I could.
The rigorous penance, shall we say, helped me cultivate my preferences, and I discovered my salvation lied in classic literature. Anachronistic, unfathomable, shunned classic literature. And so I dived deeper, perceiving life and death and everything in between as the great authors before us perceived it. They gifted to me all the fantasies I hold close to my heart, and through their mere words, centuries across, they taught me how to feel.
I have often looked upon the artists of a time long past as my beacon. Their principles, sometimes rigid, almost always idealistic, have served me well in navigating through the labyrinth we call life. But today, I feel abandoned. Forsaken. Forlorn. Furious. As a writer, they are entitled to surprise me, to disappoint me, to hurt me even. But, they cannot betray me. And that is exactly how I feel today, betrayed.
My latest read has left me disoriented. For a book that promises love in the title, it has left me questioning the fragile foundation of the subject I had built over the years. Initially, I presumed it a strange world, one where pledges of fidelity don't stand the test of time, vows of forever that fail to last an instant, and where guilt is assuaged by graver immorality. Only halfway through it, I recognised it as a reflection of the world we live in. The tainted happily ever after brought me no joy, much less peace of mind.
They say, you spot a good writer, not by their work, but by the emotions they evoke in their readers. Does the turbulence they stir in me signal their triumph or failure? Does my instability count as their conquest? Does their eminence shine brighter as their work takes me farther from the light? Perhaps, these questions are destined to remain unanswered, and this conversation unfini