By Vijay Phanshikar:
THE first thing one noticed upon meeting the successful young business executive in his posh office was the book – an English classic – on his table. There were lots of other books on a shelf next to the big table, okay. Obviously, he had a habit of picking up a book to read whenever he had time – at any hour. There were two or three bookmarks in this classic, indicating that he read it at random and marked these pages with colored paper labels. It is an absolute and unmitigated pleasure to find people who have a deep interest in reading. Those who are habitual (even compulsive) book readers have different personality traits. They are generally good company, adept in the art of meaningful conversation (a far cry from free conversation).
This man has 2 or 3 shelves full of books in his office – on almost every subject, including poetry. And every time the subject of books comes up in conversation, her face lights up, her eyes widen with excitement, her voice gains an extra pep, and a wide smile appears on her face. The talk, then, becomes quite lively in a sense, touching on various points in a book under his consideration. “Do you really have time to read books during work?” asked the great thinker. “Of course it is. You don’t work nonstop all day. You get breaks, say, in a 12-hour day. Maybe 10-15 minutes at a time. That little amount of time is enough to read at least a few pages. That’s also pretty good. Because, reading enlivens the mind, makes you feel lighthearted about the otherwise daunting tasks at hand,” he said in response. “Are you a rat library somehow?” – was the next question, not asked just jokingly, but in order to know his method and ways. “Not really.
But I love books beyond words. They actually made me, made me a happy person, made my life — taught me to do well in everything I do. Books have made me a mentally rich person,” he said, satisfaction dripping from his words. During his work, the great thinker meets many important people in government, business or academia. He realizes that most of these men and women are usually, by default, great book readers. Their reading is reflected in their conversation, even in their general interaction. They don’t refer to books once in a while, but their language, their approach to things has an innate appeal that goes beyond the ordinary. The great thinker therefore asks himself: if books make such a good positive difference, why aren’t more people starting to read!