Monday, 2 February 2015


Books are dear to my heart because I love reading. I am not a voracious reader who can down a book in a night or two. It takes days for me to finish reading a book. But, I make sure I read some pages every day. It is a habit that I cannot live without. This is a habit I developed reading doma wrappers et al from school days.

Every time I meet people with some inclination towards reading, I make it a point to encourage them to keep the habit going. And in doing so, come across different kind of people. Not different in real sense but, with differing resolve to make good of momentary inspirations into a lifelong habit.

I am inspired to write this piece on reading today, because, I met two friends on facebook who made reference to reading today during our chat.

The first friend informed me of having read a book, a novel, this winter. And that friend is now looking for another book to read. Reading the first book is an achievement for someone who last read a book many years back.

But the surprise is that, the friend said, “I remembered you encouraging me to read about a year back. So I made it a point to begin now.”

“This is great,” I said. I genuinely felt good that someone heeded to my suggestion made long time back.

And another friend was online. That friend apparently did not have a good day at some tests where constant reading and writing could have made some difference. I felt sorry but, all is not lost. I was again for a pleasant surprise when that friend said, “I will now make good of your encouragement to read and write. I will make a beginning now.”

Both the incidences indicated that, I have in fact been trying in my little ways to encourage people to read. I wondered, if what I have been telling people around to read is my foolishness. But then, I have been doing that with good intention. I always have this feeling that, if we are to have a responsible and enlightened society, we need to have well educated people. And education to me does not mean degrees and certificates.  Education to me is always one step beyond degrees and certificates. It is wisdom and realizing our human values that we are capable of achieving. I believe some of our farmers may not be qualified with degrees but, are no less educated than those who can boast of the most coveted degrees.

Why reading then? Through consistent reading, we develop ourselves in all areas and become intellectually more aware. Through reading, our priorities change. We crave knowledge and wisdom rather than materialism. For those wise people wealth is not important but, look around, the more ignorant we are, the more importance we give to wealth. Isn’t that greed? Greed leads to more greed and that is suffering.

Well, while I write about reading and how this can change our lives for better, I must mention my friend Tashi’s achievement. Just a couple of years back we met. We talked. Our frequency matched and we became good friends and more like family now.

He confesses even today that he was a rustic, raw with a wild side when we first met. Today, he considers himself a changed man or should we say refined man. He attributed this to constant reading and that habit, he says was instilled by me. From a high school dropout he has a degree in his name now.

When he first floated the idea of going to college, no Bhutanese encouraged him until he met me and an Indian teacher. The first time he came out graduating from a college, I asked him a ballistic question.
“Tashi, you now hold a degree, but now is the time to question yourself whether you gained the knowledge, wisdom and values that is consistent of a degree holder?

This could have offended anyone but, not Tashi. He realized the magnitude of this question and thus began the new chapter in his life. He began reading voraciously and of late began writing too. This, I think is positive influence.

But then, there are some people who upon seeing others  progressing, gets inspired momentarily and makes a pledge to read. It lasts just for few days and they are back to square one.

It is now over two years; someone borrowed a book from me and has not returned yet. I hear he completed reading that book in 20 months.

Another man took 12 months to return a book.  And one man has a book of mine for 15 months. These people must have encountered a warning sign which says;

“READING SPEED: ONE WORD A DAY.”  Beware, if you encounter this signal in your reading journey, They are meant to be BROKEN to splinters and accelerate.

Gyembo Namgyal
February 2, 2015 10:00 pm

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