Of Smells And Secondhand Books

I’ve constantly marvelled at how everything in life (situations, routine, people, objects) can take on a new meaning when you look at things from a different perspective. Or atleast it makes you consider them in a whole new light, and realise that they might not be what you thought them to be. I had a moment like that, recently.

A few weeks ago, before putting down a book that I had been reading, I felt like smelling it. I don’t know if that sounds weird but it’s quite normal for me. So much so that my sister’s grown used to the sight of me sniffing a book at random moments. Anyway, just as I was savouring the ‘scent’, a thought struck me. What did that smell contain?

I’ve always loved the smell of books, and have a special fascination for that of old and secondhand ones (the book in question was a secondhand copy). But I had never thought of why, or what the smell might be made up of. Until this particular instance, of course. So, there I was, wondering what made a pre-owned book smell so otherworldly.

Perhaps, it’s all the hands that have touched the pages, the thoughts of previous owners and readers…a captivating blend of all the minds that have pored over it. Think of the memories and experiences a book could talk of, but can only exude through its touch and smell! Crazy as it sounds, the idea made books and their smells seem all the more charming to me. I realise I might be letting my imagination run a little too wild, but then, that’s just how I am (if you’re done with my rambling and want an actual, scientific explanation, check this out).

Almost every time I pick up a secondhand book, I wonder about the last person who had/read the book, what they thought about it and why they let go of it. Even bookstores selling used books evoke the same feeling in me. The cramped spaces and shelves overflowing with books make me wonder about the stories hidden under layers of dust. With all those tales, characters and the sheer magic of adventures (all waiting to be read) floating in the air, is it any surprise these places smell so special? Sometimes I fantasise that, maybe, if I listen carefully, I might even hear the soft rustling of books vying for attention — “pick me, hold me, read me”.

This post was partly inspired by the line ‘Try me. Test Me. Taste Me.’ from Chocolat by Joanne Harris, and partly by the secondhand bookstores I so loved and frequented (and now miss like hell!) in Bangalore. ย 

Sleepy & Babbling

I’m disappointed. And irritated. And angry. All at myself. I haven’t been trying to find time for what I love the most. Even when it comes to diary-writing, I wrote something on Sunday, after a gap of almost three weeks. I’m so NOT liking this.

I haven’t had any dearth of topics to write about. There were times when I felt moved to write about some incidents. But, well, that never happened (evidently). For the past two days, I’ve been working on this one post and it hasn’t gotten anywhere yet. So, today, I got tired of feeling bad and not doing anything about it. I decided I would post something, even if it turns out to be random nonsense (like always!).

Life’s going fine. Work is good. I’ve almost got used to the surroundings and started fooling around with people (which happens only when I’m comfortable). I’m not saying it’s all good and happy every day. It does get on my nerves, at times. I miss lazing around. But that’s ok, I suppose I’ve done more than enough of that during my three years at college. ๐Ÿ™‚

During these three weeks, I’ve learnt a lot. I have observed people, understood a lot about some, realized some painful truths and yes, learnt some lessons, gained some experiences. One basic lesson is : Do NOT trust anyone blindly; take your time. People can be really weird and I’ve realized that I should take my time before I decide to trust someone (Exceptions possible). I think I have heard and seen enough to get it into my head.

Apart from that, I’ve had a lot of thoughts (nothing new there!). Serious thoughts about what I’m doing, my future, the people in my life, what I want in life… Yet to find answers, though. By the way, have you noticed? The Freshly Pressed posts have been awesome, during the past two days particularly. Very thought-provoking, beautiful posts.

Today, I was sort of moody. So, on the way back, I got into this bookshop near my home. Having a lot of books around me helps in lifting my spirits. Works always, worked today. But I think I’m back to the moody phase. I’ll get over it, I’m sure. Meanwhile, thanks to all the strong emotions in my head, I have been writing a good lot ofย nonsense stuff in my diary. ๐Ÿ™‚ Am I rambling too much? Maybe I’m just sleepy…

Confessions of a Crazy Bookworm! :)

Most of my friends call me a bookworm. Some just don’t understand what I find so captivating in a book, some are more like disgusted, some just let me be. And yet another bunch of friends join me in my love for books. To be honest, I love being called a bookworm. It’s one of the best nicknames anyone could ever give me. And I’m infinitely proud to be a bookworm. ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously! (You must be thinking: “She’s definitely lost it!”)

You might know how crazy girls get when they see clothes, accessories and the like. I react somewhat similar to that, when I see a bookstore. I can’t think of any other place I’d really love to be at! Show me a bookshop, any day, and I will go crazy with excitement. I will be on the verge of shouting out (or already doing it), my face lighting up in an instant…and before you know it, I’ll be inside the store, running around from one corner to the other. I lose all sense of time, place and people when I’m amidst books. I might squeal or

Ah!! Happiness!!!

jump or react in some way with a considerable level of excitement; I might be talking to myself, looking longingly at some books (enough to raise some suspicions in the person working at the store regarding my sanity). And I guess I should confess, working in a bookshop has always been one of my secret dreams!! Hope it comes true, some wonderful day in the near future!

I find complete, unadulterated happiness when I’m surrounded by books. There’s nothing in this whole, wide world that can be compared to that joy. It is almost heartbreaking for me to leave a bookshop. I can’t bear to leave all those books behind, so many books that I love. Friends who know me will testify that they find it super-hard to pull (read: drag) me out of a bookshop. And even after I leave, I will be lost in thoughts…thinking of the treasures I left behind. A bookshop is my ultimate spot of happiness…any time, any day. So, call me a bookworm, as much as you like. I love it!

I always have some books around me or with me, mostly. At college, you will, invariably, find a novel or some book on my desk (NEVER textbooks, though). At hostel, the corner near my pillow is devoted to a small pile of books. It’s the same at home. I try to always surround myself with books. Somehow, I seem to imbibe a kind of energy and joy from them. I know it might sound insane… But it’s true, for me, atleast.

I don’t know how I began reading. From the time I remember, I have been into books and reading. Right from childhood! I started with kids’ magazines, then fairy tales, slowly progressing into short stories, Enid Blyton books (the inevitable adventures of the Famous Five!!!), Nancy Drew, classics… From the time I opened my first book, there has been no looking back. I have no idea how it all began. But it has always been there, a part of me, a constant and definite source of bliss for me.

When I read a book, I lose myself in it. I see the characters, sometimes in myself; I feel their happiness, sorrow, fear, love. I experience their emotions, I cry with them, laugh with them. That is why each book is a distinct experience for me. They take me into a different world, one that is created in those few hundred pages. I see people I have never met before (and never will, I guess), places I have never seen… Whatever I am, today, I owe a big part of it to the books I have read. Apart from building my imagination, vocabulary and knowledge, reading has helped me form my own perceptions about a lot of things. It has made me think and has taught me a lot of profound lessons for life.

When I write, I feel I’m giving others a part of myself, a little of what I have gained from books. It feels like I’m, in a way, completing the circle. Books gave me so much, even to help me grow as a person. And now, I’m writing out part of what I have gained, giving back to the world what I can…in a way, trying to return the happiness I got…trying to help others experience what I did. I don’t expect this to make sense to everyone out there. But I’m content, knowing that there are a handful of them who can understand what I’m talking about. ๐Ÿ™‚ Bookworms ROCK!!! ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›

That's me!! ๐Ÿ™‚


P.S : I’m going to be away for a short while. We (my classmates and I) are going on a class tour (part of the final year routine). And I won’t be able to post anything during the next few days. But you bet I will be back, soon… ๐Ÿ™‚ย  With a lot to babble about!!! Till then, miss me! ๐Ÿ™‚