Pastime A cheery reading spot can be a personal sanctuary, says G.B.S.N.P. Varma
With the bedside lamp tunneling its light onto the page, Chandrasekar, a bibliophile, reads and reads. And reads some more. Graying at the temples and bulging at the hips, he seats himself propped by pillows. The paintings and frescos in soft colors in the room glow in the diffused spread of auburn light. Nearby, an eclectic mix of fiction and poetry, science fiction and biographies, religion and philosophy, fill the shelves. “Its my world within the world.”
Reading spots offer a gritty context to the imaginary worlds and misty abstractions. The ambience spikes the romance or suspense or terror scoped out on the page. With schedules getting crammed and stressful thoughts of work backstroking through the mind, a little place, a cheery personal sanctuary, a little cove of your own wherein in you can tangibly feel the ‘reality’ of ideas is very much necessary.
Small places, big worlds
Gangadhar, a youngster with a craze for Stephen Covey kind of books, has a ritual of reading. He lies down on the bed and holds the book on his chest and feels its weight grow. In time, he brings the book in line with the floor, edging his neck out of the bed. Newton’s gravitation pulls his head down causing a slight disorientation, if not an outright blackout. He turns back, keeping the book on his chest. Then back again. “I like reading in my bed,” he says. “When I am in bedroom, I can close the door, block out the noise of TV,” he adds. The tactile feel of a wooden table or a comfy chair can be enchanting experience. It kind of physically connects to the writer’s imagination. Dressed in loose overalls, Harish K., a lover of Nancy Drew mysteries and Sherlock Holmes’ exploits says: “I read them at night, when a small sound of cricket, a creaking sound of window in the breeze, adds to tension plotted on the page.”
Moreover, the spot associated with reading makes you get into the right frame of mind to read. “Yeah, definitely. The setting, the cushy chair is important.”
For outdoor persons, reading spot could be anywhere they can land their eyes on the book. Mounika, a management student, says: “I like to read in the garden, a garden filled with roses and jasmines.” With a waft of sweet smell, she launches herself into novels, “which can teach us how characters work and how they manage their lives.” Vishnu, an executive who travels a lot by train, shares his experience: “As soon as I get into a train, I go to the window side. The view outside of the fields, the cattle, the hills, blur past with a little rollicking movement of the wagon. “With a book to read, I feel at home wherever I am.”
Uma is a student with a taste for design. She gets into the patio swing and romps through books. “It’s cool out here, bit romantic too. Basically, it’s about taking in the whole atmosphere.” In a nook with a book, “you learn a lot about how others live or how others perceive the world, from your private space.”
Some rituals before reading set the tone. “I smear talcum powder in my palms so the pages feel smooth and glossy.” At the end of the day, “I read for an hour or so sitting in sofa for pure enjoyment.
Personal and personalized, these reading spots lend themselves to intimacy and affinity.