Monday, 10 June 2013

Shopaholic of another kind

I stand still at the entrance.

There, I get the itch again. My eyes roam lovingly over them and my hands itch to touch them. My eyes open wider, spying a latest collection I was always trying to get my hands on.

I brace myself. Should I or shouldn't I? I trace my steps back. But the temptation is far too great. I go back to the shelf. I give in. Adrenalin and joy rush through as I pick up the book that I desperately wanted.

Yes, I know now.

I am a shopaholic with an incurable addiction that I have finally admitted to myself. It's not an addiction for clothes, or shoes or watches or bags or gadgets but an unending and constant addiction for books.
Take me to a bookstore and I lose count of hours as I browse through books and look for new ones to add to my already overflowing collection. Cupboard space, I can happily sacrifice, bookshelf space, you dare not ask for.

Maybe I am part of a dying breed. In the age of Kindle Readers, iPads and free downloads, who reads books, you might ask. I do love technology and the changes that it entails, but still, I cannot get away from the sheer physical pleasure of turning the pages of a much loved book. I read when I need to be alone and I read to know that I am not alone.

And I do still buy books. And I hoard books with a collectors' delight. I can spend hours staring at my bookshelf, dusting the old covers and planning which new ones I can add to my collection.

When I travel to new places, and I do travel quite a lot, planning the books I will take with me becomes a more important task than the clothes to be packed. And of course, the trip includes a mandatory visit to one of the bookshops in that city to see if I can spot some new and interesting titles and author names. To the utter disgust of my long-suffering friends, I have completely useless hobbies such as remembering names of bookshops in the places I visited from Manila to Boston as I bring back more new books from my travels than chocolates and curios when I return home.

I research the latest released books and read the new book reviews as avidly as an Apple (the company, in case anybody thought of the fruit here), addict would keep track of the latest version of must-have Apple products.

Flipkart and now Amazon can count on my undying loyalty even as I wonder how the eCommerce industry in India fails to take off despite my single-handed efforts to boost it. As for the friendly neighborhood lending library, 'Justbooks', they might just revisit their 'avid reader membership program' (which allows for 4 books to be borrowed at a time for any number of times in a year) if they start making losses from more members such as me who literally devour books and force them to replenish their stock at alarmingly short intervals.

Book can be a refuge for me when I want to drown out noises I do not want to hear. And I often shamelessly use books as a weapon to avoid meeting unwanted people or having unwanted conversations. Some of the books I read are so heavy (yes I have even finished the most daunting ones such as "War and Peace" and "A Suitable Boy", such is my affection for books) that they might even double up as potential murder weapons if someone so much as dares to approach me when I am lost in my solitary tryst with my book whether at home, office canteen, restaurant, airport or while I am waiting in any sort of queue whatsoever. Short of opening up a book at a party or at an official meeting, which too I confess, I have often felt very close to doing, I guess I have read books at every conceivable place and time.

There is no cure for my addiction but more books.

I rest my case. I will be a bookaholic for life. Time to return to my book, one among many that I bought today.

And for anyone else who might share my addiction, I would like to add:

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it"
-Oscar Wilde


  1. Looks? What is this about looks? Anyway, three things that I will point out here:
    - Opening Flipkart packages should be part of an Olympic competition;
    - Kindles and tablets aren't that bad; they save space, and most importantly, you can carry your entire library wherever you go;
    - What cellphone do you use? The ones with the bigger screens are nice for reading ebooks at parties.

  2. et tu too have forsaken books for kindles and tablets and smart phones..

    The dying breed just got smaller:) And my cellphone is still not smart..

  3. nice blog, something that totally describes me.. I'm not much of an ardent reader(to be frank I must have just a just a dozen odd novels) , but I accept nothing gives me more pleasure and bliss than reading a book, it give solace from the daily humdrum,

    nd regarding ebooks, I tried a lot it never worked out, holding a gadget spoils the fun and the spirit, nd tend to loose interest

  4. thank you..we may be part of a dying breed but glad to connect with other fellow book lovers as always.