Books. When you grow up as an only child, like I did, finding a world to escape to, a world other than the one you lead, filled with magic, hidden treasures, pirates and adventures is probably the best thing. Each child is born equipped with an “Alice in Wonderland” imagination… the only difference comes from whether that imagination is encouraged or the inquisitive fire is put out. If somebody asked me what my perfect life would have been, I would promptly answer a life where I can just sit and read; no running around, hopping buses or metros, no office, no deadlines, just a life of leisure where I can sit and ponder over written words.
Quoting W. H. Davies, “A poor life this, if full of care; we have no time to stop and stare.”
Happiness- it’s many different things for many people, but for me happiness, would be a double heighted room, three shelves covered with floor to ceiling high wooden shelves, and lined with books, starting from comics to huge musty old tomes with tattered spines, a ladder with tiny wheels attached to those shelves, two large comfy high backed sofas- the kind on which you can easily tuck in your legs with a hot mug of coffee resting readily on your knee, while you wistfully drift in and out of your imagination. And rain. Nothing makes you want to curl up with a good book, like a grey stormy weather; the perfect time to catch up with any latest horror/ thriller novel that you might have recently missed.
That is the thing about happiness, I guess. There are many things we may want in our lives, relationships that we might want to mend, never-ending bills that we might need to pay, things and people that we might end up dealing with everyday despite not wanting to, so many compromises to keep others happy, efforts to make each thing work etcetera, but at the end of the day my respite comes from none but scrawled words in pages that carry me away from my humdrum existence into a place where I know that there will be the good emerging victorious and the princess swept off her feet by her white knight and his lightning steed. A small consolation, one might think, but this might be the only thing making many a day worthwhile for others.
Indeed, my ideal life, would hold place for so many things and more importantly, so many people. Things are easy to attain, people are another story. But just because we hardly ever get things the way we want to, doesn’t mean we cannot live our share of adventures, travel our share of countries and be whatever we want to be through the written words of others who have.
I am consoled by the fact that, at the end of my hardest day, I can still crawl up on my “happy” chair and open my current time machine and travel to another world and imagine myself to be a princess or a war veteran or even perhaps a warlock or a demon. As long as I have my books, I know I am living my ideal life, where even if, my favorite character is about to die I can always snap my book shut and live on in peace, knowing that those words would wait for me unfailingly, till I’m ready to accept the hard parts and ready to move on. Life rarely gives us that chance now, does it?
So for the small blessings, my ideal life would have just one thing. Books.
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