Once upon a time, I read books, dedicatedly, painstakingly, like a pilgrim at the threshold of his pilgrimage. Books consumed me, as I would devour page after page, lost in translation. Then along came people-with speaking faces and myriad feelings, with mincing grudges and obsessions, with overriding affections and affectations, with intense emotions and motions. Their moving hands, the receptive ears, beholding the tingled skin, the eager or hesitant mouths which round and widen, taking shapes of smiles and frowns, as words flowed out of them effortlessly and sometimes, post great deliberation!
Yes, I had found the more grown-up drug.
Faces can beam and rot you know, taking from blossoms. Not due to age, but experiences. It’s not about ‘Does the face make you swoon?’ It’s more about ‘Does it make you smile?’ Faces tell stories, they are an index of our minds, of all that is otherwise latent and sublime. Not eyes, they just need an empathetic heart. Have you noticed someone getting goose bumps on their skin post something you said? Yes, priceless! Sensual pleasures are just not restricted to bed-they can be derived by receptive senses, anywhere and anytime.
The voices, ah! You see most by listening. You could travel up and down an entire scale of passions with the voice that perhaps could personify character itself-the way it ranges from sometimes jingling with excitement like a fresh water spring to soft whispers, like falling into a bed of cotton caressing you with gentle taps till within. Voices don’t lie, people do. Voices entice, beckon, ensnare-like little magical spells that are woven by their mere echo on a person’s hearing. Eargasms, anyone? A soft, passion-smeared whisper in the ear can often be equivalent to the adrenalin rush received by wild searching fingers on the body, the chill down the spine.
I began to study people as though with a voracious starvation, live little lives and learn little lessons. They come wrapped in bundles of expectations and a cartload of disappointments, helping them evolve every minute. Sometimes they live, at other times let-live. Real, breathing, heaving, sighing human beings-they brought along with them hitherto untold stories, of lives they’ve led in bodies and mind. They respond to touch, whether or not there is any skin contact and they embody drama that we only hear of, for like they say, truth is stranger than fiction.
Words are potent, as books prove. However, when they emanate from voices separated from us by miles, generations and no relations, they just touch or instruct us. But when they stem from a person we know and look up to, how quickly they take, to not just touching but clinging and mingling in our very fabric. Words become you. They fill the empty specs, some voids that need to reverberate with some words, magnetically searching each other in the noises of the world. Romance, you ask? Well, yes, to a certain extent. For when he fills your mouth with his words, it is also a kiss or something like that.
I took to people-fascinated by the realms of lives unravelling layer by layer into a common man’s grand saga. How like a bud someone slowly opens to you and how like the petals then slowly encompass you within an embrace of trust! I took to being a co-passenger with some, lighting their path with whatever wispily shone within my own horizon, lending a listening ear to a mouth that craved to be heard, or just giving the complacent pleasure of the knowledge that someone’s there to care.
It’s a more long term gratification that a book could compete to concede. They say you live lives with books-fall in unadulterated love, climb lofty, indomitable mountains, dive into the alluring depths of oceans, conquer countries, travel path-breaking journeys and the likes. Human experience is all that and more.
Reach out to people. Be interested in their stories than in relating your own woes. For in un-knotting someone else’s tangles, you derive solutions for your own. Get outside of books, get into people. Find those worth drenching in, for such are the showers of communicating with brilliant minds that leave you wet in ecstasy of an unheard kinds. Books could help you search your soul, people could end your search for the soul mate.
As I write, I look wistfully at three freshly bought books lying beckoning on my writing table. The scent of a new paperback how like the scent of a man, tends to sneak in your insides to pull from within. Perhaps, I would return to my old love again. Or perhaps, there’d someday be someone to read to me the same. A cold winter evening, a balmy fire place, hands curling onto a simmering coffee mug and a huge bean bag wanting for us to give it shape. Come, let’s glow in this fire and as I sit looking at you mesmerized, read to me from a book and then from a life!