Don't you just love reading?
My mother tells me that once as a little girl of about four she found me surrounded by cousins, the look of absolute concentration on my face while enunciating a story about a tiger. It was my aunt’s wedding, I think. And while every other kid there was busy playing hide and seek or doing all the other kiddie stuff, I was going about telling stories to anyone who would bother to stop and listen. I think my fascination with stories started right about then.
A lot of my inclination to reading and this unquenchable thirst for stories comes from my dad. He was, in fact still is, an avid reader himself. I remember the tales he would weave while feeding me dinner. I loved it. To be honest with you, I would chew my food slower than needed to make him go on and on, create twists and turns, heroes and villains, lessons and morals et al. In fact, I plan to tell one of his very first stories to my 4-month-old daughter when she is old enough to understand. I call it the miracle story, one that he came up with just for me.
Once upon a time, a plane flying high up in the air suddenly lost control and was about to crash into the deep blue sea. The passengers panicked and cried, praying for a miracle. That’s when a thick fog engulfed the entire horizon. The pilot couldn't see anything, except feel the scary
decent descent. It was all over they thought. They were going to die. It was the end.
But then suddenly a ray of sun tore through the fog and chased it away. Their very own ray of hope. The sparkling sea was visible again and there in the middle was a lush green island, strangley in the shape of a man. Yes, right ahead, at that very spot where there was nothing but water a moment ago. The pilot was surprised for it wasn’t even on any map they had. But still there it was in front of his eyes, in front of everyone else's eyes, as true as the sky above him, as true as the air they were breathing. This was his chance to try and save everyone. So, he started looking around and that’s when he saw a clearing, one on which he could land. There would be some damage of course but people could be saved. As he tried and toiled to maneuver the plane, he suddenly felt the flight glide seamlessly towards the natural runway, as if aided by an invisible force. To everyone’s surprise and delight, the plane landed safely. Every single person aboard was saved.
Later in the day, the passengers were taken home by a ship that had stopped by. And the next day when the pilot took off after some repairs, he saw the island began to disappear. Almost as suddenly as it had appeared in the first place. After a while, there was nothing except the azure blue around. He was dumbstruck. It was a miracle, an answer to their prayers, it was the magic of the Almighty. It was as if God had laid down in the ocean to save those people, to save the flight and when they were safely sent home He left.
I love this story because it taught me to hope and does the same every time I recall it, even now.
Things can take a turn for the better even at the very last moment. Yes, miracles do happen.
That was the first story that made space in my memory palace and ever since I have filled it up with more from all around the world.
This is what stories through reading books have given me, a chance to believe in the impossible, to live incredible lives and cross the seven seas from the comforts of my home. And most important of all, to be lost in a world so very different than my own. With every new book, I live through an adventure, a life so different from my own. The gift of reading is a miracle, my miracle and it has been so ever since I can remember.
Tell me, do you read too? What are your thoughts on reading and what does it give you? What is the very first story that comes to your mind?
By the way, I'm reading 'A Drink Before the War' by Dennis Lehane these days. What's on your currently reading list? Do share.