Why do you love books? From Nursery rhymes to Cromen's 1293 page book on Introduction to Algorithms. Whenever I meet someone who loves books, there is something about the way they see the world that's quite different from everyone else. They see metaphors all around, life in withered leaves, and death in tiny white blossoms.
There is something special about the way a good book makes you feel. It's not just about the storytelling, the metaphors, or the complex characters. For a moment you're in another world, living the life of a stranger that you've never even met but felt connected for some reason. When you reach the final full stop, a world dies and the writer moves on to create another. You are left with this slight melancholy that makes you smile.
You've always loved used books, the ones that smelled like dust, and a human touch. It's strange to love someone, who prefers the torn pages over the neatly printed ones. Used ones got a different story to tell, you said. They are handed down from a friend to another to a stranger to finally end up in a dark corner of a book store, among a hundred old ones with a different story. They wait patiently, even when time passes they still hold all the stories and wait for someone to pick them up.
You were always excited to find the ones with notes, old ones that have become a part of the book itself. Someone, from another time and another space, read the same lines and wrote about how it made them feel. Every torn page has a story of a struggle or a place someone visited more than once. Now the book is more than just what the author tried to write, it carries the story of strangers that walked through the same world, but in a different time with a different perspective.
The book has its own story to tell now. Sleepless nights, coffee stains and whiskey marks, struggles of a stranger, and how it made them feel when they lived that life. You look for stories in people, how they lived the same life that you're about to walk into. Every imperfection giving a new perspective than the one with neatly printed pages, the ones that come in plastic bags.
Just like every other day, the sun rose from the same location, occupying its entitled position, lighting the dark sky with a familiar, energetic orange hue serving metaphors for poets, inspiration for the hopelessly hopeful and acting as our natural alarm. But unlike any other day the annoying alarms did not go off, the doorbells remain untouched, no more to do lists to be executed, no more tasks left to be procrastinated. This world hasn't risen today, perhaps because it has been sleeping for too long. The parks are devoid of determined joggers, who used to rise before the sun. The streets are without anxious bystanders, waiting with the OTP's for their Olas. The roads are lacking the rough trails of the vehicles rushing towards their destinations. The neighbourhood is missing the crass cacophony of the unkempt hawkers. Just like every other day, the birds are flying away from their abode, in search of food for their little ones. They are resting on the veranda with the same grace, same feeling of freedom attached to their wings, their interactions are as subtle with a familiar melodious tone. But unlike any other day, the kitchen chimneys aren't spewing smoke early in the morning, there are no lunchboxes being prepared, no shoes being polished. The balconies are without two neighbours exchanging recipes of myriad delicacies. The day is devoid of any interaction between strangers boarding a metro, the hitherto curiosity of meeting a stranger, has turned into a justified fear, as the smiles meant to be exchanged, are hidden behind the N-95 masks. Just like every other day, the flowers are swiftly swaying with the wind, the rustle of the leaves is quite audible, the climbers are trying to defy gravity, holding on to the wall for the support. The houseflies are aimlessly roaming, the honey bees are crafting their honeycombs. The ants are struggling to collect their food, in an attempt to secure their future. But unlike any other day, The coffee beans are stacked in the cafe's inventory, waiting for some insomniac's order. The plants outside the school, are without the water of the children's bottles. The flowers in the front lawn are resting, without any fear of mischievous kids plucking them. Nature is functioning the same, with or without its greatest bane. There are movies to be watched, nachos to be enjoyed but no one to enjoy them. The markets are full of empty shelves, and empty of a full queue of impatient customers. There is a lack of both producers and production. For the first time, isolation means total inactivity. Unlike any other day, The crime rate has seen a dip, the religious riots are at a hold, apparently, we have found unity in peril. Nature is restoring its scars, pollution levels have decreased sharply, This pandemic, a reset button, is a blessing in disguise, truly. We are standing without plans, our future clouded by uncertainty, this pandemic, a pause, has stopped time suddenly. This silence surrounding us, is the loudest sound ever heard. This unfamiliar halt is stirring hurricanes within us. Surprisingly, we haven't ever been so distant, yet so close at the same time, communication has never been more effective, never have we been more grateful than today. Carrying a load full of regrets, fears and anxiety, this world pleads to the mother nature, to turn all the things back just like every other day. -Vanshika Tandon
×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-×-× Been so long Mirakee, how are you guys?
Awake thee...Men of higher thought,
Who dream to reach where others have not,
Of fervent minds and iron will
Strewn with thorns is the path uphill.
If life it seems is full of sorrow,
The grind is on for a great tomorrow
Thus is the law of the mighty Gods,
It weeds him out who merits not
But he who shows his sheen of mettle,
Who does not for the ordinary settle,
Who in his heart does pain conceal,
Rewarded is - for nerve of steel,
For firm belief, for courage shown,
In lushfull plenty seldom known
To worldly critics pay no heed
On success only do they feed
To judge you right - they’ve no such skill
What’s obvious now - forsee they will
In all your loss they’ll pleasure find
Let them never sway your mind
For what is it that carves your path
- Your spirit and your faith of heart
Your guiding star is right within
And blessings only God can bring
When your day comes - when success dawns
When sunshine fills up all your lawns
You get your due you’ll hear them say
Haven’t we always felt that way!