Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Story of a book

Once upon a time…
… there was a huge library. It was full of books and books drew people. There was a massive collection of books from all genres and that thus drew all sorts of people to the library. Kids, teenagers, middle-aged, old, corporate people, businessmen, lawyers, doctors – you name it.
All the books had been read and reread several times over. As is inevitable, they had markings and readers’ notes on the margins. These marks facilitated better understanding and collective sharing of thoughts and ideas of the readers on these books. Gradually, instead of being attracted to the freshness of new books, people started getting addicted to the old ones. After all, they could understand these books better and get to know what other people thought of them as well.
Of all these books, there lay one – alone, in isolation, devoid of human touch. There were two people who had picked this book to attempt to read it and the book itself was hungry to be read. It tried to catch their attention and entice them.
Unfortunately, the Author of the book was a Creator of all things magical. He had written this particular one with so much love and care that it was hard for one to read it and understand it. With complexity of language he coupled the complexity of thoughts and ideas. This made a reader, put enormous amount of effort and patience in understanding the book. Maybe this was exactly what the Author wanted. He had poured in his complete self and the book was a manifestation of Him. It would take the life-time of a reader to understand the book completely. Maybe two. Maybe more.
The effect of the book on the two readers who had attempted to read it was devastating. Even though the first of them could not move beyond the first two pages, he had tried to re-phrase the book in its margins to help himself and other readers understand. He wanted to make the comprehension of the book simpler.
Oh but the fool. Never did it occur to him that in rephrasing and simplifying he lost so much meaning and his interpretations were very inadequate. Nothing like what the author had desired it to be. It was almost like the book fought back. In the initial days, the book enjoyed the human touch and his ernest attempts to understand her, but sooner than later, she shook the reader off. He returned the back to the library. He could never like any book as much and he could not understand the one he wanted to. He was truly broken and devasted.
The second reader was a smart kid. He was very intelligent with an IQ to kill for. He thought maybe he could decipher this book and understand it. He had made up his mind to dedicate his life in reading this book at the very outset. He understood that is what it would take and he felt up to the challenge. He loved the book too. But despite his enthusiasm and a somewhat deluded sense of grandeur, he could not move beyond the first two pages. The complexity of the book irritated him and frustrated him. Why couldn’t she be simpler to understand? Why the Author had to write this one with so much complexity? Complexity is not good for anyone. Not the book, not the reader. It’s a pity. It is a great book, and a great thought but pity, no one shall ever be able to read it.
So the book lay in the library. Together with 3 other books – her sisters, but alone still. Waiting to be opened, read and understood like the other books – her friends in her world – the library. She began cursing the Author for making her so complicated out of sheer frustration of not being able to enjoy the simple life like other books.
One day, a writer walked into the library. He looked around and was spell bound by the enormity of the library. He quickly located his own book in that library. He was happy to see that it had been issued so many times over and many people had liked it. He started reading the notes the reader had made on the margins and he realized that these notes had made the book very different from the what he had written her as.
He was proud of his creation. His work. But he had loved and respected the works of the Author and was in constant search of his best work – ‘The One’. He had gone to thousands of libraries and book stores in the country and abroad in the quest but had not been able to find her. She eluded him.
One particular day in some store a store-manager told him that no one wanted to read that book. Who wants to spend their entire lifetime in just reading the one book, when they can read so many! It just made for good display. When the Author had found this out he had called back all the copies of that book from all the stores and had just kept one copy in this one library. So after a lot of obstacles, the writer had reached the coveted library.
As soon as he laid his eyes on the book he knew it was ‘The One’. Fresh and untouched from the outside but old and mature inside. Sadness seemed to effuse from her because of the pain of never having had a reader and never been understood.
He felt the magic when he picked her up. There was no summary at the back. No reviews, since there had been no readers. He had found the virgin he was looking for. Together with this book, he was sure he would find deeper meaning – for himself and for the book.
When he was taking the book from the library, the librarian sensed the writer had the requisite passion and devotion to understand this book. He might never see the book again. He was reluctant in letting her go from his library. But he knew that she deserved a chance. And this writer was someone he would put his money for understanding and reading ‘The One’.
42 years later…
The writer was 65 now. He had gone slowly and patiently about it. He had kept her with care and loved her. Devoted his whole life to her. He could never move faster than a paragraph a day. He wrote a thesis on each and every paragraph and labored a lot on them. He could not move forward until he understood everything the Author had intended by each and every word that he had so carefully put in. He got to the layers beneath layers to the core of her heart and her mind.
He turned the last page as he was breathing his last at the hospital where he was admitted for some respiratory disorder. The doctors told him there is nothing wrong with him and that there would be a minor surgery. But he knew his work here was done. He had lost purpose until he found out about the book and would have lost the desire to live after he had written his own book. Only ‘The One’ kept alive a fire in him. It gave him a desire to live.
As he wrote his last words on the last paragraphs of the book, he heaved a sigh of satisfaction. He held the book in his arms and close to his chest and lay on his death-bed… waiting.
He was drifting away when he heard a voice, “Stay with me a little longer. You are my reader. You gave meaning to my existence. Don’t go.”
“You have lived in this world before I came along. You will longer than man can. You have given me everything I wanted and asked for. My life has been a satisfactory and my sojourn here beautiful because of you. Now spread the fragrance of your beauty to mankind and always remember me. Thank you for being there. I thank the Author for creating you… Good bye. God bless and Godspeed.”

1 comment:

rjk said...

Touching and lovely. Very creative and interesting take on a love story.