Everything has a past, present and future. In the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy the past, present and future are remarkably pickled. It’s a joy ride to say the least; to shuttle between the past and future and realise that at any given point of time your present is overlapping the past or future. It’s a tough task to keep all the 3 phases of your life separate. Nonetheless, one must try. And try hard.
This is the story of my past.
I was once talking books with a friend. It turned out that he could read more than one book at any given phase of his life. It was easy for him to shift between books. I couldn’t understand how he did it. I, for one, wasn’t sure if I could do the same-be on more than one journey at a time. I was what another friend called me-a book monogamist.
I was a fidel until The Lord of the Rings. Given the enormity of the book I found it difficult to carry the copy of LOTR around. So, I decided to read it while I was home and I picked up another book, Of Human Bondage, to read while travelling. That was my foray into ‘book polygamy’. I turned from reading one book at a time to two. Pages passed into chapters with tremendous sluggishness and I found my pace of reading the LOTR slowing down considerably. And therefore, I picked another book to read instead of LOTR. By now, I was shuffling between three books. I was nowhere close to getting any of them finished and it took me a while to realise I was going nowhere with my reading. I was on many journeys and I didn’t know if I would finish any of them. And this way I went book after book. Reading some to the end and leaving many unfinished. While I had an amazing association with The Help which I read at one go, I gobbled up The Palace of Illusions faster than any book I’ve read in the past one year.
While I was moving ahead with other books, reading some and leaving some, the backlog of LOTR, Of Human Bondage and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy weighed heavy on my mind. They seemed like unfinished relationships from my past that I had no closure with. Somehow, every alternate book that I picked, I left it halfway. It may sound like a bizzare equation, but I felt that the unfinished books in my history was why I was unable to complete what I picked up. There was a sense of incompleteness which had to cease. I was ‘book promiscuous’ by now and now there was no escape.
So, one day I sat down and decided to myself that I had had enough and that I would not buy/borrow a new book till I hadn’t finished what I started. Till I couldn’t attain a closure and come to peace with my past, I wouldn’t move forward. And so, I did. I went back, picked up The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and I finished reading it.
This is the story of my present.
Currently, I am reading Of Human Bondage. And I am well on my way into it. I know for a fact that I cannot, for the life of me, read more than one book at a time. Although I still don’t know how some people do it, I’m just not wired that way. I have also come to understand that it is vital to make peace with the past so that it doesn’t mess with the present. However, more on that in another post.
So long and thanks for all the books!
Note: The terms book monogamy, book polygamy and book promiscuous belong to Aporetified.