Friday, November 2, 2012

Addictions are Escape


I didn’t even realize I was trying to escape, since the past month, till this very moment. Every other day, depending on how fast I was, I was running away from reality into other worlds through the cheapest, most effective form of escape – reading.

It is a most successful method. You must try it. Of course, there are chances you might get hooked onto this readscape (a very lame attempt on my part to combine read & escape) and so, if you have even the slightest tendencies of forming addictions, read no further. If you choose to, welcome!

Reading, literally, shuts you out from your surroundings. You might be anywhere and yet you are only where the words are; on a cliff with Howard Roark, looking for Aunt Agatha’s dog in a hotel room with Bertie Wooster, stuck in a tree with Winnie the Pooh, in a space egg with Tik-Tik, or in India during the Mughal Era – you can be in any which place except at the airport, in the car, in a waiting room and even the loo (a prolonged mental absence is not really possible here but you get the point). You put your life on hold. Your worries, pains, defeats, failures, and even responsibilities drown in the sea of words.

I don’t just shut my surroundings; I get sucked into the story and adopt its surroundings.  Sometimes leaving is easy, I just jump into another book and befriend a new set of characters. Sometimes I have to crawl out and drag myself away. The worst is when I don’t want to let go and end up leaving a part of myself in the books I love. And whenever I want to re-live that part of me, I open the book again and get sucked right in.  Therefore, I avoid re-reads.

What is said about the power of the written word is true. Books have immense powers. If you have stifled a sob after reading a book or felt a knot tighten in your stomach while going over a paragraph or maybe put the book aside because you can’t take the suspense/terror/pain/joy anymore, you have a fair idea of their strength.

This is one of the things that makes reading dangerous and very, very addictive. And I am an addict.

But now, sadly, I need to take stock of my addiction. I need to learn to let go of the stories I read so that I can create my own. I have to make room for the characters I create, in my own words, and leave the others inside their stories, between the pages of their book, on the shelf. They’ll always be there but only when I open the book and allow them to help me escape. 

But..I need to finish my current dose. It's the last one. Promise.