My adulation for fiction was well-known in my school life. In university, I was too busy dissecting the syllabus, finding myself in the sea of literature and research papers that reading fiction was long forgotten.
Once I started working, I had hoped to resume reading like I’d always wanted to. But the books I bought were touched only while cleaning the bed-side table. I’d read at the pace of a page a day and sometimes a couple over a week.
It took me long to realize that the drift from being a voracious reader to a lazy soul was not due to time constraint or plummeting energy levels alone. There was more to it.
The romance that once used to keep me reading even while eating, resting the book on the dresser while I raced to dress up and get back to the story, was failing to keep me hooked. Its grip was surprisingly gone, its magnetism failed to attract me. I shifted genres, picked up thrillers but my pace didn’t change despite my mind working all day guessing ‘what shall happen next in the book?’.
Books have been around because I am a book hoarder. The joy of buying a book, watching its crisp untouched leaves flutter, the aroma of fresh ink, the sharp edges of the cover, the immaculate spine all fill me with a euphoria very few things can match. Even today, I have 15 new books waiting to be read, inspiring me to read faster yet promising to be around, come what may.
Anyway, I digress.
Battling through the reality of my mundane life, I chanced upon a non-fiction read.
The very mention that it was non-fiction made me hesitate, I was apprehensive of facing life’s cruelties in words after living with it day in and day out. On a rather dull day, when I was averse to reading any rose-tinted, artificially flavoured fiction, I picked up non-fiction out of curiosity. I desperately wanted to be proven right that my fears weren’t a false alarm. I wanted to win after being defeated by life in the real world.
I started reading the book, flipping one page after the other and soon the fact, that it was a true story stopped mattering to me. It was just a story. But, in my heart, I knew the inspiration, the frustration, the contemplation was all real. It was endearing to learn how people like me who were caught up in blinding dilemmas, finally cut the glare and reached where they wanted to be.
The beauty of it being non-fiction came to fore when I’d read the whole book. It wasn’t about the extraordinary life of a successful person but about how many ordinary people made extraordinary attempts to make their lives meaningful.
I had finally found my drift. I had had a breakthrough moment. I was ready to cut the negativity of my life with the blade of reality. Never falling into the trap of biographies of the celebrated that are often polished by the buff of blinding success to round off the imperfections. I have found my reading mojo in non-fiction.
These days, I consciously pick fewer fiction reads and have found myself returning to reading like there was never a break.
But this post isn’t about my drift from reading romantic fiction exclusively to non-fiction. It is a reminder to myself to continue my journey of diversification. Of exploring newer genres, to take a dip in the unknown genres, to appreciate works by authors I’ve never read before.
Diversifying in a hobby I’m passionate about is my first step to make it a habit, to adopt it in the larger picture of who I am.
The song on my mind: Kitabein bahut si ~ Baazigar