Books change the way you perceive the world. One seldom can have such wide-ranging experiences and be in the thick of things in one lifetime as is narrated by writers. It's the amalgamation of multiple perspectives, ideas and idiosyncrasies that makes book reading an experience in itself.
You don't have to go out seeking adventures to know what fun it is if you have read Cervantes' Don Quixote. You need not be a jail bird to understand what being wrongly imprisoned means if you have taken a peek into the life of Edmond Dantes through the words of Dumas in The Count of Monte Cristo. These books, to name a few, hide within their pages tales of life-changing churning and far-reaching ramifications. Have been thinking a lot about reading these days. The primary reason being my decision to send my juniors to do stories on libraries in Chennai. This is a novel concept I have introduced to the desk. Every once in a while, I send a few persons from the desk to any random place to find out stories. Once they come back, they are fresh after a break and have some good stories for the paper to boot.
What I have asked the kids to do is to trace the history of British East India Company to Fort St George. It's my belief that the Britishers won India from Chennai. If the historical perspective I've been providing the kids is well absorbed, they would yet attain something no seasoned reporter has. A historical perspective into a burgeoning city. A mix of historical and developmental journalism aimed at educating and informing readers at the same time. If this is attained, they would be instrumental in rekindling the passion this city should ignite on a daily basis. Writers come and go, but it's the idea they nurse that goes on to define an era. And ideas need expression and that's provided by words, words carefully selected and ornately crafted, to convey what is lost in mere casual glances.
Last night, while walking Caesar, I was lost in thoughts. Of a sudden I felt him pulling at the leash and I nearly toppled. I got very angry and kicked him. Normally, such acts attract immediate retribution. He would snap at me or growl throughout the way as a mark of protest. Last night he cried. I accidentally hurt him. I cannot forget the pain in which he cried after the kick. I felt so guilty that I apologised to him several times. I remember the day I brought him home for the first time. He was hardly bigger than my palm. A rascal and a busybody, he seldom gave me respite. When he cried in agony, all the scenes of his puppyhood played out in front of my eyes and I could not stop my tears. I shall never repeat such ill-thought-out action ever. There's a better way to tire him out. Just make him run. Moreover, I now understand walking Caesar is completely different from walking with him. In the first case, I'm executing one of the daily chores and my mind is not in it. However, in the second scenario, I'm the alpha of his pack and am directing his movements. He tugs at the leash only when I'm walking him. A great lesson after a painful realisation.