Skip to main content

World Book Day: An Introvert's Perspective on Books as a Refuge


Books and bookshops have always been a part of my life. 

As a child stranded between cultures far too often, it suited me to find refuge in the world of books. I didn't know then that I was an introvert, but it was clear that my escape into the world of books was one of both necessity and protection. 

Books protected me. Back then, children of my age who considered themselves to be ''cool" would never sit next to me if I was reading a book - which is exactly the protection I wanted for myself. I wanted to be left alone.

As a habit since childhood, I carry books with me everywhere. It particularly helps when I travel - I can forget about my tensions and also get rid of strangers who try to open a conversation with me when all I want to do is escape into a book.


Books have been my best companion ever since the early years when I learned to distrust people's intentions - what they said had little to do with what they eventually did - and this continues to baffle me. But thank god, I have a great place to escape and can return from it only when I feel like it - yes, books! 

Even today when we can buy books at the click of a button on Amazon or Flipkart, I avoid it like the plague. I prefer to spend time in my favorite bookshops. Nothing brings me more happiness than the visual delight of seeing books arranged in rows, their blurbs become invitations to the world that I love to peek into before I choose it, with the loving care and attention to detail and almost protective care that one would extend to a marriage proposal before taking it to the next level. I spend hours in bookshops, not just to touch the new books and feel it in my hands, but to also talk to those who are in charge of selecting the books and to customers who walk into a bookstore.

One of the things that continue to pique my curiosity is that a majority of young parents whom I have met at bookshops seem clueless about what books to buy for their kids. Over the years, it has become my second nature to play the book assistant and ask them about their children. 

To my astonishment, I find that most parents don't seem to know what their children like, besides their favorite TV channels and the games they play on the iPad. Some parents I met didn't even know the correct age of their children - and let's remember, I am not talking about rural parents here nor do I intend to judge parents by how little they know about their children - I admit, I am guilty too. If you ask me what apps my son loves to play games on, I would be confused for a second or two. But books, I can tell you about his favorite books in my sleep only because I am passionate about them too. 

And when I look back, I realize that some of my happiest moments in life have been in bookshops, where I managed to discover rare insights through rare treasures (called books!) and brought them home with me. 

You may not even believe this, I met the President of Zambia in a bookshop  and he graciously came over to shake hands with me and we spoke for a few minutes.  It turns out that President Kenneth Kaunda too loved reading and he never lost an opportunity to read the latest books! That was one of my favorite "bookshop" moments, seriously!

My books are my treasures - they are all I have, and I call them ''family".

And today happens to be World Book Day. Are you reading something interesting - tell me about it!

Happy reading!

Comments

Krish Govardhan said…
That was a really nice piece. I read a lot too. but I was lucky enough to find a few like me who did the same. We still talk about every book we finish. That lasts for hours sometimes.

I stumbled upon this blog a couple days ago (That article about caste!) and I have already added petals to my read list.
Vishnu said…
Books are our refuge. Writing is our temple, Swapna. Thanks for this tribute to reading. Is there a follow up to an introvert's perspective on writing?? Hope you're having a great week.

The new blog design looks great.
@Krish Govardhan - Thanks for sharing your comments. I can connect to what you are saying about talking for hours about books because I do the same thing....the only glitch is that I don't always find people who feel as caught up and emotionally involved in the books that they read as much as I do. But yeah, sometimes I get lucky and my conversation goes on for hours about the books. And last but not the least, I feel so overwhelmed to know that you have added Petals! to your reading list - a big thank you!

@Vishnu: Love the way you have summed it up, I totally agree with you and thanks for the awesome recco - I think that I will contemplate and write one about the introvert's perspective on writing. Btw, I am so glad you noticed the blog design - I always feel change is refreshing and your feedback is the best validation I can possibly get!

Most Popular Posts

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. 
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he became very enthusiastic about chanting the mantras. Following this, my mother taught him the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra and he took to …

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered the possibility that my thoughts and my personal journey would receive such online abuse or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience and not to insult others. My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to shout that as being insulting to your experience because our journeys are entirely different narratives. 

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.The intention of my article is to question - why are we even exchanging insults over an issue called caste? 

Should we not be aspiring to be above caste considerations instead of abusing each other …

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Earth Angels have amazing super powers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions &  becoming invisible at will
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in this world. But y…

Sarahah.com app: This is what I discovered after signing up!

Since last week, I have seen my friends on Facebook and Twitter talk about the feedback they received through Sarahah.com app. It got me curious.  As an introvert, I am curious about the world around me but I like to stick to my safety zone - which is my immediate family and a close bunch of friends. I was not sure whether to give Sarahah.com app a try. This is where I started mine: https://svaraa.sarahah.com/in case you want to share your feedback.


                         [Image; Pexels.com]

Curiosity is a strange thing - it is what got me hooked on to the spiritual path and the world of literary books. It is what makes me wake up every morning with a huge smile, even though I know that there may be a huge disaster to deal with at the corner.

Life is forever giving us new challenges, new moments - what's the fun if we don't find out the hard way? When we resist, we become boring to our own selves and we definitely stagnate from within.

Some people loved the feedback they receive…

Happy Onam: Revisiting Memories of Onam Celebrations

Everyone’s watch is set to a different time and the earth revolves slowly or fast depending on the state of one’s heart. – Anjum Hassan (Difficult Pleasures)
The scent of Onam brings with it the secrecy of pain and the tumultuous, roller coaster sense of gradually heightening excitement. Looking back, memories flood back into my mind. Like firecrackers that light up the sky in a brilliant display and burn itself out into a shimmering incandescence, these memories stored safely in my mind turn alight. The memories push through the shadowy boundaries of nostalgia and make my heart flip over with a strange, inexplicable sliver of joy and pain.

So many Onams spring to life. Onam with my parents – where my mother would be busy in the kitchen preparing all the items for the sadhya without any one’s help in the kitchen. When she used to fry the banana chips, I would sneak in to steal some from the hot plate because I didn’t have the patience to wait till it cooled. I’d take some to my father w…

Five ways to take charge of your anger

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
Every day, the newspaper headlines are full of scary stories of people killing each other over trivial things - mostly these incidents happen when individuals lose their temper and turn violent. In traffic jams across Noida in the evenings, people don't hesitate to walk out and hit each other. No one stops anyone. Everyone likes a big, bad fight. It's great to vent. After all, what's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? 

[Source: Pixabay] Here's what I think: Anger is an egoistic projection of our own minds.  It also stems from an expectation that has not been fulfilled.

People who get angry easily do not respond to situations rationally.  It destroys them first before it goes out and delivers blows to others around. That is why spiritual masters ask peopl…

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]




Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your feet. Your feet will sparkle an…