I love cleaning my book shelf. Each book has a story within and I have a story linked to each book.
The various sections in the book shelf depict the various phases of my life. The fiction series’ which still is a major stakeholder in the bookshelf is closely followed by the books on self made men and women.
Auto/Biographies of entrepreneurs have forever fascinated me. I have always been smitten by the “be your own boss” bug. There are a lot of similarities between each of these books inspite of being from different parts of the globe. The way doors opened for them when they most wanted it, is amazing. The opportunity would come in the form of some networking event they attended or a long lost friend or an old email in the inbox and they would just hold on to it. To compare it with the way a sinking sailor would hold on to a small piece of log, would not be an exaggeration. I have enjoyed reading the story of small scale village based entrepreneurs as much as I have enjoyed reading the success stories of Larry Page and Sergey Brin or Ricardo Semler or Kishore Biyani . The common underlying passion and dedication remains the same. And I salute that passion!
There is a big stake taken by the books about yogis and spiritual leaders. I thoroughly enjoy reading them. The simplicity of this seemingly complex world is hidden somewhere between the pages of these books. The more I read them , the more I am in awe of the philosophy called “hinduism” . And i strongly believe these books cannot be read by anyone at anytime. It is an event that happens to you when the time is right! I still remember the number of times I had started reading “Autobiography of a Yogi”. I just could not read beyond a point. Then, one day I started reading it and could not do anything else till I finished it. I wept when I saw the last picture of Yogananda ji taken hours before his samadhi. Books of Ramana Maharshi has not yet happened to me. And I am waiting for the right time! Books on SriM and OmSwami (author of A Monk’s Memoir) have a special place in the shelf and in my heart.
There was a phase of reading books about western yogis. I was curious to know what is it that brought them to India and made them stay forever. The connect that they felt with some places and people here cannot be explained in layman’s terms.
The series of Asterix and Tintin are probably the most read books in the shelf. People in the house have lost count on the number of times they have read it.
“The old man and the sea” took me on a very different voyage. Each wave brought a new emotion. I was in awe of Hemingway for a very long time after reading the book. I was at the verge of getting sea sick towards the end of the old man’s voyage. How can someone draw a picture with words so beautifully! The term “hope” added many more dimensions to itself in this book. It is hard to believe that a person who could personify “hope” so beautifully could end his own life!
I was very upset when Lance Armstrong was accused of doping charges. I had read both his books and respected him for his determination and persistence to fight cancer and get back on the bike. I hid his book in the shelf when I read about the incidents of doping. It was as if a part of that book was somewhere within me and I did not want to keep it there or throw it out! I remember a friend of mine narrating a similar incident. She came to know about some charges against the author of the book she was reading. He had apparently tampered with the data he had collected to write the book. She was halfway thorough the book and was loving it. But these allegations left her disturbed and confused on whether to read it or not! The connect that we build with the book that we read is no doubt an emotional one!
Right now, I have my hands on three books. 🙂 India launching a record number of satellites into space led me to the biography of the renaissance man of Indian Science, Vikram sarabhai. Written by Amrita Shah, it is a good insight into the life of this visionary leader. A fiction by Irving Wallace, “The Man” is a book that I have been wanting to read for the last eight years. ( Since the time Mr. Obama was elected the president of United States) This book written in 1964 was banned in many states of the US at that time. This is the story of the struggle of a Black President in the oval office. I have just started reading it. The third book is “A Million Thoughts ” by Om Swami. I read a couple of pages from this book every night. And it is a soothing experience.
For some books, it is not the story that remains in my mind. It is the circumstances under which i read them or the place where i read them that lingers. Some books have made my vacations memorable. Some have brought me closer to myself. Some are waiting there yet to be read and some , I know I may never read!
As I stack the books neatly into the bookshelf, I am thankful for the wonderful experiences of loosing myself and of finding myself in these books!
And this journey of experiences will continue….