MIDWAY : Best friends

One might lose all his wealth, even his kith and kin may desert him but a loyal friend always sticks by, come hell or high water. Yes, I am talking about books. But there are those who claim that the books pale in comparison to loyal pets like dogs that stands by their masters even after death.

When the chips are down, books always stand by you. A man who has acquired the habit of reading has secured a life-long source of inspiration and education. And unlike the pets that make us the slaves of their unpredictable temperament, a good book is always at hand to see us through our boredom and ignorance.

I cannot help nodding in approval when the Irish playwright and poet Oscar Wilde says: There is no such thing as moral and immoral books; books are either well written or badly put together. Books are the groundswell of knowledge that no other medium can provide. Reading only on a particular topic or sticking to a genre is akin to living on junk food. But for proper growth and development of the body, we need all kinds of nutritious food. Making a habit of reading makes developing interest in all kinds of books: fiction and non-fiction, Nepali and English, romance and thrillers.

But it is sad that though every house has television and computer sets these days, very few have book shelves or libraries. I will not be at all surprised if a survey were conducted into literary interests of the people, it would find most of the people indifferent to books. Children are even more addicted to this indifference. Most of them cannot even tell some of the names of the best literary offerings on the market. They are increasingly passing their time in front of the idiot box or a computer.

TV and computer games offer cheap entertainment at the cost of our imagination, but books broaden our horizons. English critic John Ruskin rightly labelled books the king of all treasures. It is a treasure that can never be lost with the passage of time. Only a book-lover understands its real value: what we fail to express in speech, we find in good books. Books are the best source for the expression of emotions and informed views. When there’s no one around, books become unique friends.