BOOK MY BOOK
By Neel Anil Panicker
Winter or summer, rain or shine, cold or hot, it was his favorite go to place.
You would find him coming in, sharp at nine when the library opened, and then walk in, his boot strapped feet stepping past the black and white square tiles to his corner___
a nondescript teakwood table by the opaque curtained window.
That would be his den for the next ten hours till it was closure time.
There he would sit all by himself, his head buried in a book, only occasionally picking up a pencil and jotting something onto a neat black book that was no larger than one’s palm.
Once he would finish a book, and that could be either a day or two, or maybe even lesser, he would get up, and worm his way past the L-shaped reading area and the sea of tables that circled it, mindful not to step onto any one of the other readers, all similarly ensconced in their books.
His feet would stop around a sea of shelves, each rising upto to almost ten feet high, and each shelf bearing various legends, emblazoned in gold__FICTION, NON-FICTION, CHILDREN’S, SELF HELP, MAGAZINES, NEWSPAPERS, GAZETTES ET AL.
His eyes, once having zeroed in on the section of his choice, would then scan through the spines, hover over the colour coded dots and linger inquisitively over the names of the books and their authors, and then on finding one of his choice, he would gently lift it off and then, book in hand, would make the return journey back to his exclusive abode for another hour or more of diving deep and delving into the mysteries of the written world.
Lunch time was a hurried affair and while others would get up from their comfy leather chairs and nose their way to the eclectic canteen two lifts above, he would prefer to hang by the ‘free’ tea dispenser where he would unwrap the two slices of bread, or occasionally a vegetable chop or fruit or two, that he carried in a silver foil, and have it along with a styrofoam cup of tea.
Back in ten minutes, he would be immerse himself in his special world, devouring Tolkein, Dickens, Austen, Kafka, Socrates and what have you.
Nothing, no genre, was left out___his eyes scanned, scoured and devoured every single thing, learnt every wisdom that lay entrapped within the pages.
No word, phrase, idiom, or thought could stymie his efforts___he was relentless and focused enough in his pursuit of knowledge.
A year later, when his yearly membership ended, he was a changed, complete man, one who had traveled the world without leaving shores, one who was ready to teach its denizens what he had learnt.
The student had turned teacher, and the world was his classroom.
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