Getting Lost in the Kumbh Mela of Reading

Ah! The pleasures of reading! The joy of deliberately losing oneself in the world of imagination as the words of a book guide you, leading you by the finger….

Getting Lost in the Kumbh Mela of Reading

….As my mother once did and infected me with the reading virus – One of the innumerable gifts of love that she bestowed upon me. And now, I do the same for my son!

Every day, when my little son returned from play school, after freshening up, when he sat down to eat, I made him sit down on the floor next to me. Spread on the floor were picture books he had come to like over the months. With the restricted vocabulary that he had he would ask me to narrate a story from one of the books. Many a time, it would be the same story that I had read the day before! I would modulate my voice for the different characters (my stint at AIR came in handy here!). And even though I would be exhausted after a tiring day, just to see him enjoy a story would give me so much happiness thereby pushing to a corner any ache or pain that I had for the day.

The story reading sessions did not stop at this. Before my little boy went to sleep, before we said our prayers to God, he would want another story. The ambience of only a night lamp was quite exciting for my son. This time, the characters of the story would be all his. At that little age, animals and birds delighted him. So, I would invariably cook up a story about a pig, a squirrel, a dog, a cat, a lion, an owl and so on. Many a time, the rigours of daily life would be too much for my tired mind and fagged out shell. Yet, I would tell him a story without fail.

I am happy that my son insisted then because that not only helped cement the sacred bond between mother and son, it also helped me pop in little values of goodness in his vulnerable mind. My boy would learn about goodness, honesty, love, friendship, courage through the lives of his favourite animal characters.

Today, my little boy has just stepped into his teens. He no longer wants his Mamma to narrate stories to him. But, he loves reading! His choice of books may be different. But, the very fact that he loves reading makes me thank my mother for doing to me what I was able to do for my boy.

I cannot guarantee the victory of all the values taught to my boy.

I cannot be sure of all the habits and upbringing that my boy has had to follow all these years.

I know not about the future – what influences, what kind of pressures that friends, situations and society might put on him.

But, this much I do know:

That life can get lonely even amidst a crowd.

That life can get frustrating either way.

What better way to get rid of it all by just taking up a book and getting lost in it! For once, this mother can say that she is happy to let her child get lost in the world of words, ideas, thoughts and imagination – in the Kumbh Mela of Reading!

What say you?

Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance journalist, content writer, editor, book reviewer and poet. She has 15 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio and television. She has worked as a Spoken English Teacher too. She runs a blog for writers called Write Space  and blogs at her personal blog Muse N’ Motivation. A daughter, wife, mother and friend, she believes that there is no situation that can’t be made better. Faith, Friendship and Family are what makes her life complete.

  • Indrani Talukdar

    You were with AIR! I think you have been a great mom instilling such a great habit in your son. Nothing like a good book.

    • Hi Indra,

      Yes, at AIR too. Mostly doing programmes for the Youth section – plays, poetry, songs like that.
      My son likes reading and that’s what I feel very good about. I just hope books always remain his friends for life.

  • Awwww……… lovely post! And, yes, I say the same thing, just replicate your words.

    But Shail, when i did a short stint (2 years) as a NIE life skill facilitator for various schools, we introduced stories for teens too and believe me the teens love historical stories and learn many life skills from that. I still narrate stories to my teens, only it is now graduated to historical and real life stories. I stop at crucial places and let them think at times as to what they would do under similar situations and then their perspectives, outlooks are interesting to hear. This happens to be a nice bonding session for us.

    Kudos for this endearing, evocative post!

    • Hi Asha,

      So nice of you to drop in and share your thoughts. Yes, my son is fond of historical books – he is into fiction though- a blend of mythology and stuff. So, when I had finished with my reading and reviewing of Ashwin Sanghi’s Krishna’s Key, he took it up and enjoyed it immensely. I don’t think I would have read that kind of book at his age though.

      Thanks for your lovely compliment Asha.

  • My reading habits come from my mother too. she never would sleep without reading a few pages of some book when she had free time, and I decided i am gonna follow the same. when in school , mom would go to library to pick all GK & Science books for the holidays and buy us a lot of story books if we finished them 😀

    Now I find latest books of my mom’s interest and send them to her.
    Lovely to see her asking for more books every time I go home 😀

    • Hi Nimue,

      So nice of you to be sending books to your mother. I wish my dear mother was alive for me to do the same. She was the one who encouraged me to read and write. It was her unconditional encouragement that has made me what I am today.
      Thanks for sharing Nimue.

  • I love books and it gives me pleasure to see my 21 months young daughter want a book to read first thing in the morning 🙂

    I’ve always believed that books (reading habit) is the best gift a parent can give to the child/ren 🙂

    You’ve done justice to your role so aptly, kudos!

    • Hi Scribby,

      So sweet of your daughter to want to read books at this little age. God bless her! And you too for encouraging this habit in her.

      Thanks for the appreciation Scribby.

  • Roshni

    So true that when you have books, you always have a friend! Wonderful post!

    • Thank you Roshni. Even now, books are my best friends. Glad you liked my post.

  • Great to know your efforts in cultivating the reading habit of your son. Many kids are addicted to only TV and computers. It is time we promote the reading habit among students.


    • Hi Hari,

      Yes, that is very true although I do admit that my son is fond of the tv and computer too. But, I try my best to see that he reads more than he watches the tv. I just hope that this habit of book reading becomes an addiction for life!

  • C K Sivaraj

    A responsible mother taught you how you should be responsible for the growth( good habits) of your son.

    Hats Off…….

    A Proud mother……..

    • Hello Mr. Sivaraj,

      That’s nice of you to say. Thank you. But, I am still working hard to see that he continues liking books. Sometimes, environment (in school etc) can be quite dangerous in the way influences just crop in.

      • I do hope my son can say the same of me when he turns into an adult. Proud Son of his mother…..

  • sudha varadarajan

    Thoughts expressed will find an echo in every heart! Good one, Shail!

  • Savitha

    Nice article and well written. But I always think, why do we say that reading is good. Is it because we as parents teach it to them. Many times when kids go for gadgets & electronic things we say they are to young & try and discourage them. Is it because we did not know to much about it when we were young?

    • Hi Savitha, Nice to see you here. Why do we say that reading is good? you ask. Well, because it is a fact. Nothing can beat the joy of reading especially when it is a book in one’s hand. Of course, today, books can be read via gadgets too. It is the joy of reading a book that finally matters.
      About discouraging children from using gadgets. Well, if I have got my facts right, the exact opposite is true of many of today’s parents. Many of the parents themselves are using gadgets themselves and encourage their children to use them.
      I do tell my son to not use gadgets more and busy himself in more creative pursuits because of the radiation problem and also because I feel that he should not get addicted to them. After all, there is more to life than these gadgets. Don’t you think?

  • The gift of reading is the bestest gift you can give to a child!! Kudos to you, Shail, for doing just that!! 🙂

    • Thank you dear Shilpa. Yes, I too believe that reading is the greatest gift you can give to your child. I still treasure my mother’s gift long after she has gone. And I am sure she must be happy too that her grandson likes to read.