"Oh! But you are only reading....."
"There you are!" She exclaimed from across the room.
I looked up...and knew I had lost my chance.
I had just left my daughter for practice and was looking forward to an hour of uninterrupted reading when a fellow parent and a good friend caught up with me. I had deliberately sat a little apart from the other parents so as to not be disturbed while I read, but of course, this tactic was lost on my well-meaning friend.
"No wonder I didn't see you out front....what are you doing here? Come, let's have a cup of coffee...we have an hour anyway..." she said as she came towards me.
"I was.....I was trying to rea...." I stammered, clutching my book, hoping that she would leave me alone. But she crossed the room in a few long strides and in one fluid motion took my hand and dragged me out of my sanctuary saying "Oh! But you are only reading.....Come on....you can read later, let me first tell you what a little birdie told me....."
And that was that. I was dragged away with my book. Just like that, I had lost the precious little reading time I could've found that day.
This was not the first time I had been interrupted when reading. Nor was it the first time that someone who had seen me reading, presumed that I was free to chat or do something 'fun' with them since I was only reading. But it still irked me no less.
A little background here, lest it sounds like I am ranting.......I am a reader. Have always been a reader, and will always want to be one. However, now that I have a family and a job to attend to, time is scarce; and reading time, even more so. Add to it the fact that I have a five-year old at home with an active imagination and energy levels that could give a complex to the best of the athletes; and you may understand what I am trying to say here. And now with this background, consider the fact that be it at school or waiting to pick up my kid after practice or on a bus or even at home - where I can only hope to get a precious few minutes of quiet reading - there are always demands on my time making it impossible to get any decent reading done.....get the picture?
Anyone who loves and enjoys reading will tell you that for a book lover, reading time is sacred. Reading is more than a hobby for readers. It is something that not only keeps you engaged but also something that can transport you to a world that is far removed from the real world; and exists - really, truly exists - in your imagination. For a reader, reading beats any other pass time hands down. It is better than the movies and is definitely better than watching television! (I cannot speak for river rafting or skateboarding, since I have done neither.....I have always, just read)
In fact, I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. I have a well-stocked library at home and I make it a point to visit book stores and libraries as much as I can. There's always a book in my bag, whether I am travelling a long distance or merely to the coffee shop just around the corner. I have read in moving trains, buses, on picnics, late in the night, even woken up early in the mornings to read the end to a particular story, sneaked in books in class to read during boring lectures, hidden books in my study books when I was supposed to be studying for my exams - you name it!
For me, a book has an amazing quality of never letting me feel lonely, whether I am at home or out; by myself or around a bunch of people. I just don't realise where time flies when I read. At a young age, I was introduced to the wonderful world of books when I visited my school library; and therein began an affair with the abstract, that continues till date. There is something about the whole 'feel' of a book in my hands, the amazing smell of the pages, especially that of a new book, that feels 'other worldly!' I have also read on electronic devices that are very good at stimulating the reading experience of reading a real book, but I just don't get the same feel with an electronic device that I get with the real book. A book lets me turn pages at my own pace without its 'links' that distract me and tempt me to click on them. It doesn't restrict me, the way an electronic device does. But that is a discussion for another time. What I am trying to say here, is that reading time is the best time I can spend with myself; something that lets me feel really happy and relaxed.
What? Sounds like the ramblings of a hopeless book-lover? Well, it is not just me who says reading is amazing. Research and studies have shown that reading a book is good for you in more ways than one. Scientists have found that reading reduces stress, just in six minutes of immersing yourself in a book! Reading increases vocabulary and imagination power; and also helps children learn abstract thinking. Research has also found that people who read fiction and love to get lost in a good story are more empathetic and understanding towards others as they view the world from the viewpoint of the people in the story. They are also, therefore known to get a different perspective on things and are better accustomed to deal with real life situations.
Apart from all these benefits, research has also found that children who read for pleasure in their early childhood are found to excel in studies in their teens and are found to be well-informed and better equipped to deal with any situation arising in later life. When you read a book, you try to understand someone else's story from their point of view and get involved in their choices and dilemmas. Studies say that this helps make you more tolerant towards others; and also a better listener. Studies have also shown that reading for at least fifteen minutes every day improves your mood and enhances your memory!
With all these advantages, it is no wonder then, that reading has a special place in my heart. But truth be told, I would love to read anyway, advantages or not.....
Now you tell me, is reading cool or what!