Mon, 16 Oct 2000

Is reading becoming an obsolete pastime?

By Uma Ramakrishnan

JAKARTA (JP): Reading makes a full man, conference, a ready man and writing, an exact man.

But nowadays reading has become an obsolete term. Not all, but yet most of us do not have the habit of reading books. Sometimes words can feed the heart and soothe the soul as nothing else can.

On the whole reading gives you an incredible feeling that nothing else could. Reading books enhances your skills and it infuses confidence in you. Books are the storehouse of knowledge. A good book gives the best solace to both the soul and the mind.

How many people with rectitude in their heart can say that they spend more on books than for karaoke or other entertainment. Too much of karaoke can harm your ears; watching too much of television serials or cinema can affect your eyes. But in the case of a book it is not so. Intellectual pleasures are the least harmful and most lasting. Soft words break no bones.

One can derive pleasure while touching the soft petals of a flower or by smelling its aroma or by hearing music. But these are the pleasures of our senses. But reading gives you an intellectual pleasure. The beauty of a flower lives for an hour or more. But in the case of a book it is not so. Reading has an inexhaustible power.

An ideal friend possesses all the qualities of a head and a heart. Same way a book can be your best friend. It's our best companion.

The question of status doesn't arise in the case of reading books. You're never considered a rich reader or poor reader. The ladder remains the same for everyone. When you read more and more, you learn more and more. The less you read, the lesser you're in touch with the future.

Carl Rowan once quoted in American Libraries that "Learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history". Books are the primary carriers of ideas, imaginations and provoking thoughts. Reading storybooks gives us pleasure. Reading spiritual books gives us mental peace. Reading autobiographies will help you in certain ways to attain tangible progress in life.

Books are the seeds sown for an intelligent tomorrow.

Investing on books will never be a waste. If you spend 10 times for other forms of leisure, spend at least one part of it for reading. It is better to give books to friends for their birthdays than to give flower bouquets.

Have a glimpse over the autobiography of Gandhi titled My Experiments with Truth. One will get to know about his life, the hardships he faced and the tussles he underwent. His life passage was not simple. To quote a few points from the book is like offering chocolate without its sweetness. To know its real taste, one should really read the book. Reading a book like that gives one a spirit of optimism and a message of hope to the 21st century men who are torn between the stress and strain of modern life.

People who have the habit of reading books stay ahead of others, as they're in touch with everything. Every rose has its own thorn. Every coin has two sides. Same way, one should be careful when choosing books.

If reading more and more is detrimental to your work, then it is as bad as any other sensual pleasure. Many waste their time in reading vulgar books or catch penny novels that spoil the morality of the readers. Obscenity cannot be defended by being called art.

The buyer needs a hundred eyes, the seller not one. It is for us to select good and useful books. To be best advantaged, one's taste must be properly formed.