Between the pages

“Between the pages of a book

is a lovely place to be.”

– Anonymous

It’s strange how I’ve never written anything, anywhere, about books, considering that I practically devour them in a matter of a few hours, at one go. I can never decide what is closer to my heart—books or travel. They keep exchanging places and taking the Numero Uno spot turn by turn. I shouldn’t be surprised though; after all, aren’t books a way of travelling to a different place too?

Some people believe we are born with a pre-ordained, pre-determined purpose. If that’s true, then my purpose is to read—gobble; devour—as many books as possible. Books have been many things for me over the years—my first loves, my agony aunts, my comfort food, my best friends, my escape routes…the list is never-ending. They’ve always felt like a part of me. A part of me that is very much alive, with a mind of its own, at times. It is this part of me that takes me to book stores to browse for hours, compels me to run my hand along the spines of the tomes—the old, the new; the ragged, the smooth; with lots of pages, and with only a few. All just waiting to welcome me into their worlds; just anticipating the moment I’ll turn the first page. This part of me, I suspect, is also the one that makes me pick a certain book at certain times—even when I am not actively looking for it. This part of me, the one with the ‘book-sense’, has led me to lots of books, which, over the years, have become treasured possessions. This book-sense has made me choose books that have ultimately led me to the path I am on now. It has given me Rowlings and Aherns, Forsythes and Archers, Paolinis and Ghoshes. It has made me realise my strengths, weaknesses, and talents, time and again, through the books it has picked. It’s made me strive to keep bettering myself; to be a person worthy of the books I choose.

Recently, this book-sense led me to a book by Cecelia Ahern. As is usually the case, I didn’t even know of this book until I chanced upon it while looking for an appropriate gift for my brother. I didn’t know what made me linger there in the dusty aisle even after I’d found him a book. As my eyes roved over shelves upon shelves of books, an indigo coloured spine caught my eye and, before I could blink, my hand had snatched it from the shelf. That night, I hugged the book to my bosom when I finally completed it at 4 in the morning. Losing a few hours of sleep for this book was worth it and more.

Cecelia Ahern’s “How to fall in love” is a marvellous book and one that I hadn’t realised I needed till I turned the last page and felt a sort of peace settle in my heart. Contrary to what one may think on reading the title, it is not merely a story of romantic love. Above all, the book tells you how to fall in love with life and enjoy being alive. That being said, the book is not a “how-to” guide. It is a witty, funny, sometimes sarcastic, narration of the female protagonist’s life, with hidden jewels of wisdom. For someone who had recently, consciously taken that step away from the edge of the figurative bridge, “How to fall in love” was a motivation to keep stepping away from the edge.

This book also gave me a few beautifully crafted lines which are special and will remain close to my heart always. “Where would we be without tomorrows? What we’d have instead are todays…” so those lines begin. I have read these 7 sentences so many times now, that they are firmly etched into my mind. I can only hope that, one day, I’ll be able to write something as beautiful, as honest, and as heartfelt as these lines.

Till then, though, I’ll rely on my ‘book-sense’ to find more such books for me. Books to keep me company on my journey through life, to give me a nudge in the right direction when need be, and to inspire me to, one day, write something that I can be proud of.

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