I see them in my dreams, sometimes

Floating around rather aimlessly, these paper boats going

nowhere soon,

these books, to whom I am nothing more than a fair-weather friend

often look at me, in my dreams

and call me names.


I do not think of myself as a traitor though

to say the truth, i do not think I ever meant to read them

beyond the first expression of immeasurable loss

or of forbidden love

on page 67

or that acknowledgement to “my daughters,

light of my life,who will one day know, why

their mother had to leave and their father

had to write this book”

on page 445,

or sometimes, not even beyond the carefully constructed lie of

“all characters and names mentioned here are fictional

and bear no resemblance to anyone, living or dead”.

so i could amuse myself by carving and shaping up my real world

to fit the writer’s.


There is of course a certain selfishness

in the piling up of books and not reading them,

in the meticulously haphazard castle of imagining made out of

the brick and mortar of paper and ink

a castle, more like a refuge, from the storm raging outside

of what is real, of that which does  not succumb to sleep

and does not trail off with time.

there is comfort in knowing that the knights of What Could Be

could ride on their black and white steeds and slay

the dragons trampling all over What Is.

But an even more disquieting thought

of watching them fail, and fall in battle

and bleed streams of impotent ink

….of waking up and finding the storm breaking down

that last door

makes me selfish.


I do make it a point to run my hands through

all of my books though, maybe even sit with them

and have a convivial chat sometimes,

thus creating for myself

the conceit of having the greatest minds of our times

become, for a moment, my audience.

They listen rapt as I talk about this and that,

and the best thing is, they always agree with me

because I never find cause to ask more of them  ,

and then be proved wrong. I do not dig too much into them

or scratch on their wounds to reveal the flesh and bones

of better books and truer stories,

or of empty words and untold sorrows

and they extend me the same courtesy.


*TSUNDOKU: A Japanese word meaning  the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other such unread books.






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