Why I Read… | #Blogtober22 – Day 7

Reading books is a wonderful, life-changing experience. Everything that got you into this habit, you remember with fondness and sometimes (like me), an emotion that threatens to spill every single time. As you continue to read, those vague answers you had to people asking, “How do you read so much?” might not become clearer. But you have a list of answers and reasons ready to the “why”.

The sad part, however, is that nobody asks you, “Why do you read?” It’s always the “How?” Go to YouTube and you’ll find thousands and thousands of ‘How To’ videos. I myself have done quite a few:

How to Speak Better English.

How to Start a BookTube Channel.

How to Get Out of a Reading Slump.

I remember being at a friend’s place for some dance practice in 2018. During a break, everyone was doing their own thing. Some were sleeping, some were talking, some were eating – you know the drill. I was in a corner reading a book, because as you know, I don’t go anywhere without one. The guy for whose wedding we were practising saw me reading, flopped down beside me, and went, “Kaise padh leti hai tu itna?” (How do you read so much?) I mean it was a 400-page hardcover, so it was normal for a non-reader like him to be in awe. But there it was again: “How do you read so much?”

So in about 2019, I thought that I had to tell the world the answer to “Why I Read?” And I made a video about this because:

  • I needed to get it out of my system and put it out into the world.
  • Even though everyone has their own reasons for reading, I’m sure that at least a few people will identify with some of the reasons here. And isn’t that what community is all about?
  • And lastly, because it feels like the right thing to do.

However, since I made this video, my relationship with reading has changed a lot. I obviously still do love it and it is the one thing that I will never give up on in my life. But as against what I used to believe back then – that not reading for any given amount of time is a waste of that time – I’ve become more easy-going, more liberal, and kinder to myself when it comes to reading. So it’s obvious that the answers to the question, “Why do you read?” changed. Maybe not in the larger sense, but in the little details. And the fact that I’m comfortable with it makes me happy in a way I can’t really explain. 😊

Here are all the reasons why I read. Some remained, some changed, but all of them represent me right now.

Reading is a huge part of who I am.

I was a shy kid, an introvert to rule all introverts. This meant that I was socially awkward and interacting with people was not really my thing. I’m slightly better at interaction perhaps (just a fraction) but that doesn’t mean I’m not awkward or that I’m not an introvert. I’m still both and I’ll still make an ass of myself while talking to people. But not as much as it was back then. And if you’re introverted, especially as a child, there’s bound to be a certain exclusion from groups of people around you. Sure, your peers will be polite to you (they were to me, at least), but you’ll still stick out like a sore thumb.

My Dad was an avid reader and it was he who introduced me to reading at a very young age. My parents tell me I took to it like fish to water, like it was my savior. Like I couldn’t get enough of it. Like I could live only if I read. If I didn’t, I’d die. But it was not until I was in school that I realized how much of a savior my natural inclination to reading was to me.

I tried to mingle with my peers, but I was always very awkward, and people literally stared at me like I was strange (which I was, to be fair) and sometimes in exasperation. Irrespective of how self-aware you are of your awkwardness and irrespective of whether you have the ability to fit in or not, you want to be amid all the fun.

Sadly, I was horrible at it.

Books were the only place that comforted me, that told me I was okay, that it’s okay to be introverted in a world full of endless possibilities for the more social. While the Enid Blytons talked to me about adventures, the Goosebumps told me I was better than any horrors out there, that I could get through it. The Tinkles gave me lessons and laughter. All of these stories gave life to my life and kept me going.

And when I lost myself in these stories, I was everything that I always wanted to be.

It is my moral compass.

When I read, I realize what I believe in.

The morals.

The emotions.

The rights and the wrongs.

It gives me the courage to get through in life while learning what my morals are.

And I am nothing without my moral compass.

It is my adventure of a lifetime.

I think Coldplay has nothing on what reading is to me.

And what is life without adventure? Pale, stale, and stagnant? Reading fills my life with colors that are otherwise inaccessible to me. Drowning in words and exploring the thousands of worlds open to me through them is what I consider my adventure.

I travel, I weep, I laugh, I feel anger, disgust, shame, sorrow, joy, and a whole range of emotions that are not as easily available to me otherwise.

I read to escape.

With all that is going on in the world today, fiction and books help me escape the chaos, give me my own world for a period of time. Reading helps me lose myself from here and find myself elsewhere. And when I return to this world, I more often than not have the new traits I’ve learned about myself with me. Isn’t that sweet? That I escape from the chaos and from the older version of me to become a better version of myself on my return?

It comforts me.

Reading is the solace that I look for on a tumultuous day.

It’s like a warm embrace of the duvet on a cold winter’s night.

A giant whiff of cool breeze on a hot summer afternoon.

My umbrella against the rain.

My vibrant palette in a dull, colourless world.

It comforts me, it sympathizes with me, it empathizes with me – and for that I will always be grateful for the gift of reading that my father bestowed on me. Thank you, Papa. ❤

It is changing me for the better.

Reading changed me – and is still changing me – in too many ways for the better, for me to actually list them out. I’ll just say that if it weren’t for reading, I would still have been just an immature child, even after growing up.

With the million perspectives it offers and the voices that talk to me as if they were my own, reading has made me a better version of myself. Yes, I still do have my flaws – huge ones at that. But reading is here for a lifetime and I can only hope that it helps me pick them out one by one. We’ve got time.

I read to learn and to understand others.

Everyone’s stories are not written tangibly. You need to interact with them to understand even an iota of what they’ve been through. And since physically interacting with every single person on this planet is impossible, reading gives me that avenue.

By reading books by authors around the world, I have the chance to learn more about a variety of people, their thoughts, their histories, their traditions, their cultures, their living conditions, and so much more. I live through them. I walk in their shoes for a few hundred pages and understand their minds.

And that is something that I will always treasure, for nothing else can give me this, right where I am sitting in my home.

So those were all the reasons why I read. Which of these do you identify with? What are your reasons for reading? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! ❤

I’ll see you in tomorrow’s Blogtober post.

Until next time, keep reading, keep watching, and add melodrama to your life! 🙂

8 thoughts on “Why I Read… | #Blogtober22 – Day 7

  1. Reading can certainly open one’s eyes and provide a new perspective on life.

    Thank you for sharing your love of reading and your encouraging words.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think that I could have articulated this as well as you have but I agree with all of these reasons for why I read. I can’t remember not being able to read and I was certainly the child reading in the corner of the playground or classroom at school. It widens my life because not only do I experience things through reading but it also inspires me to go and visit some of the places or do some of the things that I read about.

    Liked by 2 people

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