By Vijay Phanshikar :
LET us make the full use of the time we have got to spend at home -- indoors -- for this compulsory period of at least upto March 31 -- as our country battles the coronavirus scare. Let us take to reading books so that we add a pure joy to our existence, the joy of reading, the joy of enjoying silence in the company of books, the joy of knowing something that we had never tried to have all these years. And let this joy be made possible for people of all ages -- young and old. Let all of us get into the habit of reading, which we almost seem to have forgotten over the past some years.
Social distancing is the order of the day and the need of the hour. But instead of delving deep into social media and other digital platforms and waste time and energies and spoil our eyes, let us get down to reading books or magazines of good standard. Let us realise the merit of reading, of known what somebody has taken efforts to put down on the paper after a lot of painstaking work of researching and writing. True, we do have television sets at home -- in some cases more than one. But there is also a limit beyond which we should not keep watching television since it hurts our eyes and heads and hearts. For time immemorial, the human society has resorted to reading books, and we can walk in those ancient footprints -- and revive our lost habit of reading.
There is often so much to read -- not just to expand our so-called knowledge, but also to entertain ourselves in a healthy manner. Wonderful books are coming up in the market in good numbers in all languages. Most of those books are not very expensive -- within our rather easy reach, if we care to know. Our cities and towns also have places were used books or second-hand books are available. For a while the stores may remain closed, but most of us do have some books at home. We can take those out and dust those pages and sit down to reading in a cosy corner of our homes. All we need is good enough of light to illuminate the pages and a good and comfortable condition to sit down. That secured, have a good meal and retire to your corner to open your long-time and long-lost friend, the book, and enjoy his company in beautiful silence. Many among us may scoff at this idea.
For them, reading is a waste of time. To such people, may I suggest that they at least give book-reading a sincere and serious try! I can guarantee out of my personal experience of sheer, unmitigated happiness that getting back to reading books will add a very special joy to your living. Imagine a condition when everybody in the house is occupying a cosy place in the home and is engaged in reading. Such a family would be a true abode of bliss without any blight.
The scare of coronavirus has already confined most of us to our homes. So, instead of cursing the world, we can dedicate the compulsory social isolation to our great use -- by taking to reading books, those very books our family has always harboured but has stopped reading for no specific reasons. Let us, friends, then start opening ourselves to the happy time with books, our eternal friends who will not misunderstand us even we slam them close. This is only a suggestion, friends -- out of sheer goodwill, if you care to understand!