We live in a world where formulas are most sought after. Formulas reign. From film makers to writers, from politicians to the common man on the streets, and from here to there and everywhere, the demand for formulas is high. It isn’t that this demand has appeared only now when the race to succeed and to be happy seems to have intensified. Even hundreds of years back, when technology hadn’t yet gifted us unheard of ways to communicate, the wish to succeed and be happier than others was there with just the same intensity. Fishermen wanted a catch that had gulped in a few precious rubies, poor waifs wanted lamps that gave access to genies, and even sleeping beauties wanted a prince to come riding a white horse and kiss her troubles away. The old man in Hemingway’s novel was forever looking for the biggest fish, Pip was looking for Estella, and there were sages in ancient India who simply wanted to please the Gods to become immortal. The ordinary folk heard about these stories and thought – This tale hides within it that final formula.
So yes, formulas have always mesmerized.
Don’t be surprised if I say that such formulas do exist. In books.
What? In books? How can this be possible?
Why not? – I tell them – it is stories that lead the mind towards happiness and success. This is how things have always worked and there is no reason to be skeptical about it. The entire formula can be summed up in two words – Read more.
Read more? But we are now having so many to choose from? How do I know which ones to read? Come on, hurry up and share its title.
They are all here – I say – all around us. From fairy tales to thrillers to romances and even history, memoirs, and every other genre that you can think of. Books, by the way, hide inside them the road-map that you are looking for.
For instance, I’ve always loved reading fairy tales. The reason is simple. The characters inside such tales are forever dreaming about things that they think will be right for everyone. Even romances have yearning filling pages. Have you ever thought what comes after yearning? Well, the mind starts believing in what you wish to believe in and makes you do things that get you to your goal. Fast. Reading is indeed like a wishbone that is forever creating newer thoughts and ideas to aim for.
This isn’t the complete aim for readers though. There are books that make a reader restless because they are plunging him into areas that he isn’t comfortable thinking about. I don’t mean mere essays on the socio-economic plight of others or tales that make a person sad and teary. Yes, they are dealing with issues that a lot of readers aren’t comfortable even reading, let alone getting up and doing something to lessen their impact. The point that I’m trying to make is that some stories even when read will need a reader to have a backbone. Yes, scary stories and those that terrorize the mind with some or the other form of gory details that make us all cringe with disgust or fear too need a reader to develop his backbone… however, it is those texts, fictional or otherwise, that help a reader stand up to any form of injustice that may exist in the social matrix surrounding him.
Any reader will confirm that it isn’t just one type of book that always holds his attention. Like already mentioned, there are those that help him identify the wishbone and the backbone, there is a third type that makes him see the funny side of both wishes and injustices. These are the moments that awaken the funny bone within and actualizing this one is as necessary as activating the other two.
It is when the three bones get live and kicking that a real reader is born.
20 May 2019