For the love of reading
To be able to give your children the gift of language is something indescribable. To be able to read, write and understand.
Understand all the hidden meanings that those tiny little letters contain is a wonder in itself.
The guttural sounds, the words that roll off the tongue so effortlessly, words which you can still taste on your tongue.
To be able to make them understand that language if used properly in just the right amount and manner is magic in itself.
That words can heal.
That language can build esteem and confidence and make you conquer a world. Or many worlds.
And that, that very same language can undermine. And how.
Language if used right, can deliver you from your fears.
That is, if you have had language magicians guiding you every step of the way on your first journey.
The very same language will make you a jumbled mass of emotions that crash into each other like waves.
It will give you solace when all else seems bleak.
And hunt you down just when you think you have found a quiet corner in the house all to yourself.
Language will not leave your conscience alone. Remember that. And tread carefully.
It will be your most amazing gift to your child. Precious beyond measure. Passed down from one generation to the next.
For, in one masterstroke you have just insured your child against a world that will knock him down. And knock him down hard.
For me, those magicians have been my grandparents and my parents.
The language teachers and the librarians whose names I can still remember.
I didn’t know it then but I was entering a sacred world. One where to pretend to know everything was sacrilege because everyone was on a journey.
And the journey did not have a destination.
To want to know the hows and whys was to feel deeply. And to feel deeply was to be open to heartache and sadness.
But always, there was a hand that reached out. To offer solace.
A book read under a quilt with a flashlight. Noone else seemed to exist in the world right there in that moment.
Do you remember that moment? Hidden away in the recesses of your mind? A childhood moment stolen from time?
The one that still makes you smile when you think of how desperately you wanted to read that book. That very book. That very night. Way past your bedtime ?:)
That exact moment you see, is what I want to gift a soon- to- be – 1year old little boy.
He already loves his books. The birdies and the animals. All the duckies in a row and the jungle animals and what not. He turns each page slowly, looking up in anticipation. That I will say something . That I will make a silly sound or give a name to that picture he is looking at.
He has so many expectations from me. So many hopes in those young eyes.
I am sitting in mom and dad’s home. My first home. And my forever one. As I sit here late at night surrounded by hundreds of books. Books I have collected all these years. From book fairs, flea markets, hole in the wall bookshops.
And the most revered ones of all.
The ones passed down like holy grail. They belonged to my grandparents and parents .
Books whose names I know by heart . Their pages read and read again till I know them like my own reflection. These books painstakingly taken care of by maa and dad.
They are fiercely protective of these books. For, they know that their daughter’s heart resides in them.
As I look at the books and think of the amazing gift my parents and grandparents have given me, I cannot help but make a desperate wish. A wish that I will do the same for my son.
I look at his sleeping face
Such innocence. He sleeps oblivious to the world outside and the dangers that lurk.
And terrified suddenly by my own fears, I want to give him a magic potion.
One that will make him strong. Strong enough to be able to withstand the storms that will come. And come they surely will.
For what else is it to be a human being?
I want to gift him that courage of conviction that will make him hold on and stay true to his beliefs in a world that will falsely make him believe otherwise.
I want to gift him that moment under the quilt.
A book in those tiny hands, a flashlight and magic.