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By: Chandni Akbar

The Joy of Reading

When my brain says stop, I go to the edge of my room where I have a secret happy place. Behind the calm pink curtains, there stands a giant cupboard with an air of dignity and pretension. With a mesmerising smile so inviting and old, it attracted me from time to time.

A lot of questions popped in my head as to where will I get extra time for this leisure of today. Nevertheless, I motioned towards the smiling giant. Nothing can stop me this time. Not the cries of my "bundle of cuteness" for her daily routines which has been completed without error or the whimpering of my husband for his ironed shirt. Baby is fast asleep and husband off to work. When it comes to showing justice to our hard-earned life and sacrifices, we ought to do what must be done. Be it party or this. Hence, procrastination is not an excuse, it's a sin.

The closet showered me with some dust before it yelled itself open. Guilty of not being there before and with a hundred silent apologies, I rummaged for my special box swiftly hoping not one of my precious gems inside is gone. On seeing the shining edge of the box, I grinned.

It's all there.

All the books which made me cry with sadness, laugh with joy, love with passion and die with fear. All the times when books helped me take the most important decisions of my life with its well-written one-liners appeared in front of me. With an insatiable appetite for words, I flipped through the pages of my unfinished book to find 76th page neatly dog-eared. 7 years has passed now since I touched this baby.

 Not allowing my thirst to ruin my imagination, I sipped one word at a time savouring each and every bit of it with amusement one of a kind. Few cookies and a cup of hot steaming coffee, I would prefer by the side. The fresh smell between the pages and coffee seasoned the experience making me believe that it was raining for real. The story began.

I flew up from my body, down the stairwell, onto the road where I caught a cab in rain with Sherlock Holmes. His ways are smart and unexpected as expected, but calm. I could spot a few readers who have got to the road like me. Although he didn't smile, he cared well enough not to disappoint me.

"Will you find the murderer, Mr. Holmes?" I asked in the subtlest tone possible.

I did not want other readers to hear me.

"Let's do it together" he muttered with a smile so capturing.

He jumped out of the cab leaving me behind with a hundred questions...

The cab honked its way through the hustling street with a slush of water on my face and arms. The smell of the daily paper, the cold black and white London, the rain, the old and young busy with their routines and the beautiful woman selling flowers ran past me like scenes in a movie.

O Dear Book,

Let your ways of thrill devour me with your mighty sword of words....

Let me be a slave to your wisdom and fiction

Give me sleepless nights of excitement thinking where is your lost princess.

Or will the universe really conspire to help the shepherd boy?

Will the book thief realize she's been followed?

Or will Mariam find true love with the glory of a thousand splendid suns....

Later did I know, when in the evening the early bird returned to nest with a tired knock on the door, that I fell asleep beside a coffee untouched, a book unfinished and the joy of reading unexplained.

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