Sometimes, you read a book and it transports you into another world, and you become convinced that all living humans must read the book too. Books are the silent and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.
The other day, one of the colleagues asked about my views on why majority of students in Nagaland have bad writing skills. I promptly replied, “Lack of reading habit,” casually. Later, the more I thought about it, the more I realised the depths of feelings I had for my incessant fetish of reading which was like breathing to me. On the contrary, there are many who just ‘can’t find’ the time for reading or who simply find it plain boring. I have heard these replies over the years but I’ve never been able to wrap my head around the thought that something like reading can be boring at all!
Anyone who is passionate about reading would skip most of life’s bare necessities to welcome a new member into the bookshelf. If it’s a series and the next in line takes some time to get published, like an obsessed drug addict, we’d count down the days till it arrives in the market and only then we finally breathe an air of satisfaction. No matter which angle I look at it, the obsession for books is by far the best obsession ever because what’s in your head will always be of use until you fade away into nothingness or might even be immortalised if you choose to write. It is a worthy gift which none can forfeit but only benefit.
Having a vast knowledge of vocabulary will undeniably polish your English. When you find a certain word while skimming through something that piques your interests, it helps you retain the meaning of the word in your brain for a longer period or even likely for a lifetime. This is why people who read largely have better command over the language.
Reading and writing always complement each other. I have duly noticed that when I study for a test, Naga Style i.e, the Great Eleventh Hour preparation, if I had been reading a novel (apart from syllabus books), prior to the exam, my chances of seamless writing is higher than when I was not reading anything at all. Moreover, once you cultivate the habit of reading, studying syllabus books becomes easier because you’ve mastered the art of shifting concentration from one word to another at ease, keeping the bigger plot in mind. Thus when you read, you understand almost everything at one go, even the ones other people find it difficult to grasp because your mind is already accustomed to welcoming new ideas at a fast pace.
The vital tip about reading is to free yourself from all physical distractions including your phone. Find your perfect reading environment; at a library, in a park or in the woods. The last time I heard, Bibliophiles (lover of books), read even during college sports and commuting in crowded buses. Such is the craze for those who have discovered the magic of reading.
I had a talk with a learned friend of mine, about the growing fascination for the state exams. I’ve always wondered why some people whom I know well to be a genius because they know so much, never get through or that even if they pass the prelims a number of times; they are unable to cross the mains or the interview. According to what we have noticed from experiences of close ones and testimonies made by aspirants, we have come to know that apart from the leading factor, corruption, lack of conviction and even perhaps the will of God, the inadequate reading habit has its share in the futility of results. The preparation for exams starts on the day we decide to read anything and everything for leisure regardless of your age. The knowledge acquired over the years will always be of greater reliability than a crash course learning for a couple of years, when we rule out the exceptions.
We were taught at a young age to read so we could pass our academic exams. Perhaps it’s high time to consider reading for pleasure. We learn best when we enjoy most. For those of you who do not have the habit of reading will at the utmost find nothing to enjoy. They tell me, “reading is boring”, “I don’t have the patience”, “It’s not for a fast-paced person like me”, and the list continues.
The definition of “in style” changes like a Kaleidoscope. Often times, the wary hands of modernisation even wounds cultures and traditions which were otherwise supposed to be steadfast. The significance of a thing which is rad today becomes out-dated tomorrow. Except for one. Reading. This practice has been continued since time immemorial, like a universal staple diet. Even if technology overpowers books, it is only a change in the mode of reading, not reading itself. It has never gone out of style. Reading will never go out of style.
People read for a number of reasons. Some to forget their pain, to escape from reality, some to get lost in a world and open doors to imagination, to be whatever you want to be, whoever you want to become. These are similar reasons why all the broken hearted resort to alcohol and drugs. Why not read instead then? When it has an added advantage of learning so many and gaining so much? What’s not to like?
I have presented here a piece of my world to you by sharing what I hold so dear and the treasures that I find in reading. And so, I hope that, the next time you pass by a bookstore, you’ll give your wandering soul a chance to find your own personal treasure.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Tatongkala Pongen, Aniruddha, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.