When was the last time you read a book under the shades of a tree,in a public park or a moving train!!?
The question seems to be little pretentious to some of us but a gang of book robbers can easily associate with this.The scene of someone holding a book in his arm and reading in a public place wheather in buses, metros and planes is too hard to see. Nobody’s reading a book.
Last day when I was going through a morning daily I noticed an article by Mr.Saikat Majumbar, (a leading writer) titled “The lost art of public reading.” The write-up says that, ‘reading has slowly become a moment of shame,an illicit act when performed in public.’ It says that reading in public has its own history of shame.
Emmanuel Egudu,the unreliable native informant of Black African culture in J.M Coetzee’s ‘The Novel in Africa”accuses Europeans of shutting themselves in their cocoons with their books in every public place imaginable.In Africa,he says, we are not like that ;we are to communal,too warm,too sensuous a culture to cut ourselves off from our fellow human beings to bury our noses in books.
And may be that write up was the core reason, pushing me to work on this piece of article. As I write I imagine an eutopia where people sit under a tree,having their cofee and the shades of emotions, when they go through the pages, reflecting on their faces.
There was a time when stories of young unmarried women in 19th century Bengal hiding books under their pillows so that nobody could catch them. Unfortunately, it now makes up harmful jokes.
And now in a community of smartphone and cyberspace the art of public reading has lost it’s real essense.No one is, even giving a try to experiance the joy of reading in a community.
Ones upon a time our public spaces used to be reading spaces, where we communicated silently with strangers through our shared love of words printed on paper.Those of us who still read in public are now left in the cold.’says, Mr.Majumdar.
Well, reading in public isn’t a mere act, its an act, an evergreen art of travelling deep into the world of letters and ideas, of the pages beautifully printed inside a hardcover.